Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan

GARDA Commissioner Martin Callinan has said he is horrified that any member of An Garda Síochána colluded with the IRA.

However, the Commissioner made no response to the scathing remarks from Judge Peter Smithwick about how the Gardai treated officers who gave evidence at his tribunal.

Speaking at a press conference, Commissioner Callinan said to think that any member of the gardaí would in engage in collusion was “beyond comprehension” and it was beyond belief that someone would betray the force.

He said he accepted the conclusions arrived at by Judge Peter Smithwick.

Commissioner Callinan said it is a source of great disappointment that no one has been held accountable for the murders of the two RUC officers.

He said first and foremost his thoughts are with the families and the loved ones of the two murdered RUC officers.

Speaking at the same conference, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has ruled out a further inquiry into the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal report.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal report were “absolutely shocking”.

Speaking in Japan, Mr Kenny said it is a revelation of another dark patch in Ireland’s recent history.

He added that he endorsed Minister for Justice Alan Shatter’s apology to the victims’ families.

The Taoiseach said he expected Mr Shatter to write to the families and he added that he will meet them if appropriate in due course.

The Smithwick Tribunal report, which was published yesterday, concluded that there was Garda collusion in the killing of two RUC officers in south Armagh in March 1989.

Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were shot dead by the IRA shortly after leaving a meeting at Dundalk Garda Station.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the two officers had a “laissez faire” attitude to their own security.

Speaking on Newstalk, Mr Adams said the men “seemed to think that they were immune from attack by the IRA and tragically as it turned out for them that wasn’t the case”.

He said: “When you have that type of failure to protect the RUC operatives in the middle of a war, then what happened happens.”

“I’m sure the same thing has happened with IRA volunteers who were killed that it wasn’t necessarily intelligence or inside information it was simply that they made a mistake,” he added.

Mr Shatter has described Mr Adams remarks on the Smithwick Tribunal as “nauseating”.

Families of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan shocked at findings in report into the 1989 murders by the IRA

Families of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan shocked at findings in report into the 1989 murders by the IRA

He said there was no doubt where responsibility lied. He said it was with those who carried guns and shot the two men.

Speaking in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin criticised comments made by Mr Adams on Newstalk.

Mr Adams said he did not need reminding from the Fianna Fáil leader that there were two bereaved families at the heart of the report.

He said his comments on Newstalk were a reflection what was said in the report.

He said he had already said that the two men were brave officers doing their duty as they saw it, in the same way as IRA volunteers were doing their duty as they saw it.

“The war is over,” Mr Adams said in the Dáil. “We now have to build the peace.”

He said the past should not become an obstacle for the future

In his 500-page report, Mr Justice Peter Smithwick stated that he is satisfied that there was someone within Dundalk Garda Station assisting the IRA.

But the report concluded that the Tribunal has not uncovered direct evidence of collusion.

“There is no record of a phone call, no traceable payment, no smoking gun,” the report found.

Former Minister for Justice Gerry Collins, who served when Supt Bob Buchanan and Chief Supt Harry Breen were murdered, has said he is looking forward to hearing Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s response to the Smithwick report

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Mr Collins said he is very sad for the force in the wake of the report.

He said a garda investigation was carried out at the time of the murders by one of the most able people in the force.

The scene in 1989 after Bob Buchanan's Vauxhall Cavalier car was ambushed by the IRA

The scene in 1989 after Bob Buchanan’s Vauxhall Cavalier car was ambushed by the IRA

Mr Collins said he and others accepted that report at the time, which has since “regrettably” been found short and inadequate by Judge Smithwick.

He said the Government and garda authorities must face up to Judge Smithwick’s comment that both the RUC and gardaí acted swiftly to dismiss speculation of the possibility of collusion rather than deal with it in a thorough and credible investigation.

He said the question has arisen as to whether An Garda Síochána is suitable to investigate itself, and added that he does not believe it is any more.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has said now is a time for reflection and time for gardaí to fully engage with the issues raised in the Smithwick report.

He also welcomed the apology by the Government.

The Lagan Valley MP said gardaí need to set aside whatever corporate issues they had before and get to the heart of this issue.

Mr Donaldson said the reputation of the RUC, PSNI, or gardaí is not above the law.

He said if there are members of any organisation who have stepped outside the law, they need to be made amenable to the law.

Mr Donaldson said he also looks forward to a robust response from the Garda Commissioner.

He said members of the gardaí will be feeling hurt today that the reputation of their force has been damaged.

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