Monday 19 February 2018

Three former gardai call on the Government to reject Smithwick findings

Supt Bob Buchanan, left, Chief Supt Harry Breen and the scene of the attack in Co Armagh
Supt Bob Buchanan, left, Chief Supt Harry Breen and the scene of the attack in Co Armagh
Judge Peter Smithwick, the sole member of the Smithwick Tribunal into the fatal shooting of RUC Officers on the March 20, 1989. Picture: Tom Burke
The opening day of the Smithwick Tribunal in March 2006

Three former senior gardai have published an evaluation of the Smithwick Tribunal’s findings where they challenge its key finding of collusion by unnamed gardai in the murders of two RUC officers.

They claim the finding is not grounded in facts and they have urgently called on the Government to reject it.

They claim the finding of collusion is badly affecting relations between the gardai and the PSNI, the Irish Times reports.

The three former gardai are retired detective chief superintendent John O’Brien, former chief superintendent Michael Finnegan and former chief superintendent Michael Staunton.

An Garda Siochana has sent the report to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, and the Clerk of the Dail.

The three men say the finding of collusion “undermines the capacity of this State to actively pursue the many substantial acts of collusion committed in the course of the conflict”.

They also contend that the finding harms the reputation of the gardai who were not represented before the tribunal.

They conducted a “line by line” analysis of the report, saying that the tribunal failed to conduct basic investigative work or hire investigators, which was recommended to it.

Mr Staunton was an inspector in Dundalk when RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were shot dead by the IRA in 1989, having departed the station.

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