Gardaí 'devastated' by Smithwick findings

Thursday 12 December 2013 19.00
Martin Callinan said he and his officers were going through the report line by line
Martin Callinan said he and his officers were going through the report line by line

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has said gardaí have been devastated by the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal.

He said gardaí work very hard in very trying circumstances, facing provocation on a daily basis and putting their lives on the line.

The Commissioner said he and his officers were currently going through the report line by line.

He said they could find no evidence of the collusion found in the Tribunal report and neither he said to be fair to him could Judge Smithwick.

Commissioner Callinan also said the community had not reacted against gardaí following the report but had received many messages of support from the public.

In a press conference following the publication of the Smithwick report, Commissioner Callinan said he accepted the report’s finding.

He did not accept its contention that members of the gardaí place loyalty to the force above honesty.

He said he was conscious of the work done by gardaí in Dundalk Garda Station and that he had never found any evidence of IRA collusion there.

Commissioner Callinan said he accepted the conclusions arrived at by Judge Peter Smithwick, but to think that any member of the force would engage in collusion was “beyond comprehension”.

The Smithwick Tribunal  was published on 3 December.

It concluded that there was Garda collusion in the killing of two RUC officers in south Armagh in March 1989.

Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were shot dead by the IRA shortly after leaving a meeting at Dundalk Garda Station.

In his 500-page report, Mr Justice Smithwick stated that he is satisfied that there was someone within Dundalk Garda Station assisting the IRA.

But the report concluded that the Tribunal has not uncovered direct evidence of collusion.