Saturday 24 February 2018

Gardai who worked on Border now under 'cloud of suspicion'

Ex-garda Owen Corrigan leaving the tribunal last May.
Ex-garda Owen Corrigan leaving the tribunal last May.
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

A JUDGE has been accused of placing a cloud of suspicion over all gardai who worked in a border station close to where two RUC officers were murdered by the IRA.

Former detective sergeant Owen Corrigan said he did not accept Judge Peter Smithwick's ruling that one of his colleagues would have colluded in the murder of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan.

“Unfortunately, Judge Smithwick's finding has now placed a cloud of suspicion over all former members of Dundalk garda station in circumstances where there is no direct evidence of collusion,” said Mr Corrigan.

Mr Corrigan welcomed that there was no finding of collusion on his part.

“I do not accept, however, his findings that I had an inappropriate relationship with the Provisional IRA,” he said.

“All my dealings with the Provisional IRA were for the purposes of gathering information and/or intelligence to support An Garda Siochana in defending this State and its people during the Troubles.”

Judge Smithick believed Mr Corrigan became disaffected with the detective branch in Dundalk where he was based.

He stated that what may have started out as a professional relationship with subversives for the legitimate purpose of intelligence-gathering, ultimately developed into a relationship of “an inappropriate nature”.

Intimidation

Mr Corrigan said the finding was based to a large extent on the acceptance of evidence given by Mr Fulton, which he disputed during public sittings.

“For 32 years I served as a member of An Garda Siochana and in the border area during a time of unprecedented troubles,” he continued.

“I served my force and my country to the best of my ability during a time when the campaign of violence by the Provisional IRA was at its height.

 “I suffered considerable violence and intimidation, with ‘wanted for treason' posters of me being erected by republicans in Dundalk and surrounding area.

“My wife and I were also attacked by so-called republicans while socialising in Dundalk. As Judge Smithwick noted, I was also severely beaten up by members of the Provisional IRA.”

Mr Corrigan went on certified sick leave in December 1989 and officially retired from the force on February 4, 1992

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