Smithwick Tribunal closes

June 24, 2013

The public inquiry into the murders of the two most senior Royal Ulster Constabulary officers killed during the Troubles heard closing statements last Friday.

The Smithwick Tribunal was set up to investigate allegations of Garda collusion in the 1989 IRA murders of RUC Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan.

They were shot dead in an IRA ambush on the Edenappa Road, near Jonesborough while returning from a meeting in Dundalk Garda station.

Speculation has persisted for decades about the high profile murders and when the tribunal was finally set up in 2005, the families of the officers were relieved that suspicions could be examined.

Supt Bob Buchanan’s son William said the tribunal had provided the family with “greater information and a greater understanding of the events on the day and the surrounding events.

With the testaments of over 200 witnesses to consider, including claims and counter-claims from former IRA members and spies in the British security services, retired judge Peter Smithwick will not have an easy task coming to a definite conclusion as to whether gardai leaked information to the IRA.

The Breen and Buchanan families may now have to wait until October to find out what the chairman has made of the confusing and often contradictory evidence given to the tribunal.