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Monday 17 June 2019

Families tell of their disbelief at 'set-up'

William Buchanan: shock
William Buchanan: shock

Deric Henderson, Sarah Stack and Ed Carty

THE families of murdered RUC officers Bob Buchanan and Harry Breen have spoken of their disbelief that their loved ones were set up to be murdered.

The Smithwick Tribunal's report, which found garda collusion in their deaths, was a "truly remarkable expose" and "indictment of wrongdoing", they said.

Lawyers for Mr Breen's widow June, now in her 70s, and their children David and Gillian, said he and his trusted colleague were betrayed by their counterparts in An Garda Siochana, despite enjoying a good professional relationship.

"An Garda Siochana as a body was held in high regard by Chief Superintendent Breen," solicitor John McBurney said.

"It is tragic that he was betrayed in the manner established by Judge Smithwick whilst he was engaged in significant policing endeavours of importance to the RUC and An Garda Siochana and the jurisdictions both served."

The family held deep fears about the circumstances surrounding his murder, and those fears had been "fully realised with collusion firmly established", he added.

The Breens said they deeply appreciated the courage of some garda officers and members of the security forces in bringing key evidence to the tribunal.

Mr Buchanan's son William spoke of his disbelief that his father was effectively set up to be murdered.

"The findings are both incredible and shocking and confirm the existence of a mole in Dundalk station. This led to my father's death," he said.

At the time, senior officers in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) rejected claims that the two men had been set up on the day they travelled to Dundalk.

"I know that a 'mole' theory has been in the background from the outset but this was very quickly discounted by the then chief constable of the RUC (John Hermon) and the Garda Commissioner at the time of the murders," he said.

Both families expressed their gratitude to Judge Smithwick and his legal team.

Irish Independent

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