Report: Irish police may have colluded with Provos before ambush

Dec. 4, 2013 at 1:55 AM   |   Comments

DUBLIN, Ireland, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Someone in the Irish police almost certainly tipped off Irish republicans who killed two Northern Ireland officers in 1989, a report released Tuesday said.

The Smithwick Tribunal, headed by an Irish judge, Peter Smithwick, has been investigating the allegations for eight years, the Irish Independent reported. The report found a likelihood of collusion between the Irish police and said that if Superintendent Bob Buchanan of the Royal Ulster Constabulary had been warned he was on a Provo kill list he and Chief Superintendent Harry Breen might not have become the highest-ranking RUC officers to be killed during the Troubles.

The report found no hard evidence linking specific police officers to any collusion.

Smithwick also said the Irish police, An Garda Siochana, failed to investigate allegations of a tip off, The Irish Times reported. He said that in the force "loyalty is prized above honesty."

Buchanan and Breen were ambushed in South Armagh on March 20, 1989, as they returned from a meeting with Irish police in Dundalk. Buchanan, who was responsible for security on the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, had requested the meeting.

At the time, South Armagh was known as "bandit country," a Provo stronghold patrolled by British soldiers who lived in fortified camps.

Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore apologized to the families of the slain officers on behalf of the Irish government.

"The actions documented in this report are a betrayal of the values and the very ethos of a Garda Siochana, as the guardians of peace," he said.

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