Wednesday 18 October 2017

The IRA did not need garda collusion for murders – ex-tribunal investigator

Gerry O'Carroll
Gerry O'Carroll

Barry Duggan

A SMITHWICK Tribunal investigator has rejected the findings that gardai colluded with the IRA.

Former Detective Inspector Gerry O'Carroll was appointed by Judge Peter Smithwick as an investigator to the hearing in October 2006.

He worked with the tribunal for 10 months to investigate whether any of his former colleagues tipped off the IRA, which led to the ambush and murders of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan.

But Mr O'Carroll said he does not agree with the conclusions of Judge Smithwick.

"Reading the report yesterday, I must confess to being shocked and astonished at the content and tone of some of the report," Mr O'Carroll said.

"The garda and RUC investigations found no evidence of collusion between garda and Provos.

"But Judge Smithwick found no conclusive or irrefutable evidence of collusion in his own inquiry, despite an eight-year investigation.

On foot of his exhaustive probe, Judge Smithwick found: "There is no record of a phone call, no traceable payment, no smoking gun."

"Judge Smithwick states that, on the balance of probabilities, collusion had taken place but he has not produced irrefutable or compelling evidence to back up this," Mr O'Carroll said.

The judge said there was no direct evidence of collusion in the murders of the RUC officers.

"Judge Smithwick's findings are based on the legal precept of the balance of probabilities. This is a long way short of proof of collusion beyond a reasonable doubt," Mr O'Carroll added.

"I, for one, am not convinced or persuaded that there was any collusion between members of An Garda Siochana and the Provisional IRA in the despicable double murder of Breen and Buchanan," he said.

"From my own knowledge and investigations into this affair, I am convinced that the Provisional IRA did not require any garda assistance or collusion to carry out the assassination of these two RUC officers," he added.

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