Smithwick Tribunal: ‘Hermon and Corrigan on first name terms’

July 26, 2011

By Paul Malone

The Smithwick Tribunal has found that a retired Garda sergeant who was allegedly colluding with the Provisional IRA was on first name terms with former Chief Constable of the RUC, Sir John Hermon. The revelations came to light after officer Terry Hynes told the tribunal of the close friendship between Owen Corrigan and Sir John Hermon after the former was tasked many times with ensuring the safety of the RUC man on his way to Dublin airport.

Mr Corrigan, along with retired sergeants Lee Colton and Finbarr Hickey, are at the centre of widespread allegations of collusion between the Provisional IRA and the Garda in the murders of the two most senior RUC men to die during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The two RUC men – Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan – were killed on their way home from Dundalk after a secret meeting with senior Gardaì officials in 1989. The meeting is believed to have concerned illegal smuggling activities across the border counties. The two senior RUC men drove into an IRA ambush on the Edenappa Road, near Jonesborough, a short distance from the border.

Last week Mr Hynes told the tribunal, “They (Mr Hermon and Mr Corrigan) were on first name terms. Mr Hermon would have been briefed day and daily about all intelligence activities in the north of Ireland, there is no way he would have come down to Dundalk himself if there was even the slightest suspicion there was any irregular activity regarding intelligence at Dundalk station.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hynes also claimed to have apprehended an RIR man who had been planning to wipe out the Sinn Fein leadership at a meeting of their Ard Comhairle in Dublin before turning the gun on himself. Mr Hynes did not specify a date for this claim but said the RIR soldier was extradited to Northern Ireland.

The hearing continues.