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Smithwick Tribunal reactions: 'Finding of gardaí collusion is of deep concern'

The Smithwick Tribunal investigated claims of garda collusion in the murder of two senior RUC officers in 1989.

The Smithwick Tribunal Inquiry.
The Smithwick Tribunal Inquiry.
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall

THE SMITHWICK REPORT published today has found that collusion between members of An Garda Síochána and the Provisional IRA took place in the killing of two senior RUC officers.

In a response to the findings, the son of one of the victims William Buchanan told RTE News that the findings were shocking to him and his family.

The Justice Minister Alan Shatter has apologised “without reservation to the families of both men”, while Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore says he is “appalled” and “saddened” by the findings.

Superintendents’ Association of Northern Ireland stated that their thoughts “are first and foremost with the families of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan, stating that considerations towards the family “must remain paramount”.

The statement continued:

The brutal murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan – two of the most senior officers of our Association to lose their lives during ‘The Troubles’ – are dark pages in the history of the Superintendents’ Association of Northern Ireland.

The association added that the conclusions of this report “will make stark and challenging reading for many people and whilst we recognise this step towards bringing out the truth in relation to these tragic and horrendous murders, what is now important for us is to see how these findings are acted upon”.

Prosecutions

Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins TD said the report “highlighted a sickening betrayal on the part of someone within Dundalk Garda Station”.

He called on members of the Provisional IRA to come forward with the information needed to identify the individual involved in order to allow prosecutions to take place.

He added: “… By passing such information to an organisation that was seeking to undermine the security of this country, this person betrayed and dishonoured the sacrifice and effort of An Garda Síochána in a profound and disgusting way”.

Collins said:

The clarity of the report vindicates the decision of the previous Government to establish the Tribunal.  It also throws into sharp relief the ongoing failure of the British Government to honour its commitments to hold a number of other inquiries agreed at the Weston Park talks.

Amnesty International

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland said the report’s finding of collusion by members of the gardaí “is of deep concern”. I

He said “it reinforces Amnesty International’s call for the establishment of a single, comprehensive mechanism into 30 years of human rights abuse in Northern Ireland, and for Ireland to provide full cooperation with this inquiry”.

Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, Patrick Corrigan said there are now outstanding allegations of wrongdoing against “agents of the Irish state” that need to be addressed. Corrigan added that a
new mechanism to investigate the past in Northern Ireland is needed with the full cooperation by the Irish authorities.

“The victims of every killing, just like the families of officers Buchanan and Breen, have a right to hear truth and see justice. As the Smithwick report itself concludes, the culture of failure to address suggestions of wrongdoing has gone on for too long,” he said.

Gerry Adams

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams said tonight that people will make up their own minds when they read the report, adding that Sinn Féin supported these inquires “on the basis that families had the right to full disclosure of all relevant information”.

Adams said it was important to note that while the “Irish government has kept its commitment under Weston Park the British government is in clear breach of its commitments having refused to establish an inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane”.

He said the Irish Government now needs to increase its pressure on the British government to honour its commitment and to set up the promised public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

Read: Smithwick Tribunal finds gardaí colluded with IRA in murder of RUC officers>

Read: Smithwick Tribunal: Former minister disputes evidence about Jack Lynch>

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