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Smithwick Tribunal: Inquiry given five more months to uncover links

THE deadline for an inquiry into alleged Garda and IRA collusion in the murder of two senior RUC officers during the Troubles has been extended.

The Smithwick Tribunal has been given a further five months to uncover any links between gardai and the terror group's ambush of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan.

The pair were shot dead on March 20, 1989 shortly after a meeting with a senior garda in Dundalk.

This is the second time Judge Peter Smithwick has requested an extension from Government.

The final report, which was initially due last November, must be completed by October 31.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the Government was cognisant of the need to facilitate the tribunal in fulfilling its mandate as fully and expeditiously as possible.

"The proposal which is to be put to the Dail and Seanad is consistent with the commitment given when the tribunal's terms of reference were amended last year," he said.

The tribunal was established in 2005 and opened nearly a year later, but did not start public hearings until June last year.

It has sat for almost 100 days, heard evidence from 190 witnesses, and cost more than eight million euro (£6.5 million) to date.

PA Media