TIM O’BRIEN
Irish Times
17 Mar 2012

THE INABILITY of the Garda to accept the possibility that members of the force were colluding with IRA assassination squads prevented “any proper inquiry” into such allegations, the Smithwick Tribunal heard yesterday.

The tribunal was hearing a transcript record of an interview with the late, former Garda commissioner Eugene Crowley.

Mr Crowley had dispatched former assistant commissioner Ned O’Dea to Dundalk station to carry out an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the visit of two senior RUC officers who were assassinated as they returned to the North. Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were killed in an IRA ambush in south Armagh less than half an hour after they left the meeting in Dundalk Garda station, in March 1989.

In the transcript of Mr Crowley’s interview with the tribunal the former commissioner asserted that he had not known of any allegations of collusion at the time of the assassinations. Mr Crowley said he had sent Mr O’Dea to “inquire into the circumstances” surrounding the arrangements for the meeting. He said there was no special security clearance required or risk assessment for members of the force working in the area. He said: “I could not accept that they would be so corrupt that they would tell the enemy of the movements of Breen and Buchanan”.

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