04/12/2013

Gardaí Collusion In Smithwick Tribunal

The Smithwick tribunal has found that gardaí tipped off the Provisional IRA in the murder of two of the most senior RUC officers to die during the Troubles.

RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were shot by the IRA after a meeting at Dundalk Garda Station in 1989.

It has long been asked how the IRA could have known so much about the officers' movements to have carried out such a detailed and planned attack.

Following an eight-year investigation led by Judge Peter Smithwick, Garda collusion in the murders has now been inferred.

Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford said: "Our initial thoughts at this time are with the Breen and Buchanan families who suffered a great loss and are reliving that pain again.

"The report concludes that, on the balance of probabilities, one or more Garda officers passed information to the IRA, which resulted in the murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Robert Buchanan.

"A rogue officer acting outside the law should not result in the loss of trust between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána. Since taking up this office I have worked to build the levels of co-operation between the two services and Alan Shatter and I, as the two Ministers, will continue to do this.
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"There are many examples on a daily basis of officers from the PSNI and An Garda Síochána working together against those who would try to drag us back to the dark days and I am determined that will continue to ensure the progress made in recent years continues."

Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter said: "Judge Smithwick was unable to find direct evidence of collusion in the killings. However, he concludes, on the balance of probabilities, that collusion did occur involving an unidentified member or members of An Garda Síochána.

"After many years' deliberations, it is right that the Tribunal report should now be considered in detail. I will be doing so with a view to presenting it to my colleagues in Government in the coming weeks. I expect too that the report will be fully debated in the Oireachtas.

"But even before that process is completed I believe that it is important to say immediately, on my own behalf and that of the Government, that I apologise without reservation for any failings identified in the report on the part of the State or any of its agencies.

"It is also right today to acknowledge that during the course of the troubles on this island An Garda Síochána in co-operation with their colleagues in Northern Ireland played a vital role in safeguarding the institutions of the State and protecting the people of these islands, sometimes at great cost to individual members. Nothing in the report should detract from that.

"I have no doubt that the brave men and women of An Garda Síochána down through the years would be as appalled as anyone that any member of the Force would betray them and the Irish people by offering assistance to terrorist organisations."

(IT/CD)

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