Chief Supt Harry Breen

Chief Supt Harry Breen

A RETIRED Garda sergeant claimed two senior RUC officers were “the authors of their own misfortune” when they were shot dead in an IRA ambush 23 years ago.

Owen Corrigan denied to a tribunal in Dublin tha there was any leak from Dundalk Garda station that led to the killing of the men.

Instead, he insisted paramilitaries had carried out an intense surveillance operation on their movements.

Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were murdered in south Armagh shortly after they left a meeting at Dundalk Garda station in March 1989.

Mr Corrigan is the last witness to appear before the Smithwick tribunal, headed up by Judge Peter Smithwick.

He is investigating claims that some gardai colluded with the IRA gang that shot the two officers.

The retired garda said the pair had travelled “willy nilly” without protection.

“It’s a terrible thing to say… they were the authors of their own misfortune,” he told Mr Justice Peter Smithwick.

Mr Corrigan, who was based at Dundalk Garda station when the men were murdered, denied allegations there was a leak from the station.

Supt Bob Buchanan

Supt Bob Buchanan

In a heated exchange with lawyers, he insisted he got intelligence from the IRA after “the fateful day” that tallied with evidence the IRA gave to the tribunal, that the senior RUC men had been watched for six months.

He said it was “absolutely insulting” to him that after so many years of service, and 18 days of answering questions in bad health, that he was being linked with the case.

“This is a trial of the life and times of Owen Corrigan,” he said, as he threatened not to return to the witness box tomorrow.

“We are bending to the British.

“We are doing their work for them.”

Mr Corrigan claims British security services tried to frame An Garda Siochana – by using Jeffrey Donaldson MP to name him under parliamentary privilege in the UK’s Houses of Parliament – to distract attention from their own collusion.

He told the tribunal he was refusing to hand over any more details of his bank accounts, as requested, as no other witness had been asked such personal details.

“I thought about it when lying on my death bed in hospital and I thought if I ever recover I didn’t want any more to do with it,” he said of the tribunal



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