GARDA COLLUSION REPORT INTO RUC MURDERS HANDED OVER TO FAMILIES

Families of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan receive report into their 1989 murders by the IRA

Families of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan receive report into their 1989 murders by the IRA

THE long-awaited report into alleged Garda collusion with the IRA in murders of two senior RUC officers has been handed over to their families.

Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were ambushed by the IRA on March 20 1989, on the south Armagh border shortly after a meeting with a senior gardai in Dundalk.

It was claimed they were meeting Garda counterparts about ways of thwarting the cross-border smuggling activities of IRA south Armagh chief Tom ‘Slab’ Murphy.

There has been long held suspicions that the IRA were tipped off about their movements and ambushed them on their way home as they crossed the border into Northern Ireland.

The report into allegations of Garda collusion in the killings was handed over to the Irish parliament last Friday.

Relatives of the two RUC men were given sight of the findings by Judge Peter Smithwick along with their lawyers today.

The results of the eight-year probe, which run to more than 500 pages, are expected to be published within the coming days once the director of public prosecutions (DPP) has examined the conclusions for legal reasons.

The Smithwick Tribunal has been probing any links between gardai or civilians working in the force and the IRA ambush.

Mr Buchanan’s son William had called on the Irish Government to allow him to read the report some hours before it is published online.

Mr Buchanan, who sat through several days of the hearing in Dublin, said he hopes to know within weeks if the last eight years have been worth it.

The inquiry has cost more than 10 million euro (£8.2 million), with legal fees pending.

It was established in 2005, with lawyers spending six years trawling intelligence and witness statements from police forces and officials on both sides of the border.

British undercover agents, Provo bombers, politicians and the island’s most senior officers took the stand at hearings, which sat for more than 133 days in public.

Three former garda officers, Owen Corrigan, Leo Colton and Finbarr Hickey, have denied allegations of collusion.

The tribunal was established in 2005 when Canadian judge Peter Cory recommended a public inquiry be held into allegations of collusion by garda officers, or a civilian in the force.

It opened nearly a year later and was adjourned almost immediately to allow for private investigations.

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