Agent reject charge he is ‘pathological liar’

Smithwick tribunal

A former British agent who alleges a retired detective sergeant was involved in collusion with the IRA had rejected a charge that he is a “pathological liar” or that he took part in the murder of North Louth farmer Tom Oliver at the Smithwick tribunal.

Peter Keeley, also known as Kevin Fulton, faced cross-examination by Mr Jim O’Callaghan SC, who represents former Garda detective sergeant Mr Owen Corrigan.

Mr Corrigan has described the collusion charges as a “monstrous lie.”

Cross-examining Mr Keeley, the barrister put it to him that his account of an abduction of North Louth farmer Mr Tom Oliver on foot of information supplied by Mr Corrigan did not stand up to scrutiny.

Mr O’Callaghan said that his client had been on sick leave for over a year by the time Mr Keeley said the meeting took place and would not have access to sensitive information by then, and that Mr Keeley was not in Paris as he claimed when Mr Oliver was murdered in July 1991.

Mr Keeley said that Mr Corrigan told his IRA commander, Patrick “Mooch” Blair, that Mr Oliver was being used as an informant by gardai. Mr Oliver was “arrested” and questioned by the IRA as a result, but was released and later abducted a second time and murdered.

The barrister put it to Mr Keeley that there were not two abductions of Mr Oliver as the witness claimed, but only one, and the account in Mr Keeley’s book “Unsung Hero” was an account of the abduction which led to the farmer’s death.

“You were part of the team of thugs who murdered Tom Oliver,” he said.

“No sir, I was not part of the team of thugs who murdered Tom Oliver, I was not present,” said Mr Keeley.

Mr Keeley also said that it was “a while after” the information about Mr Oliver was given to the IRA by Mr Corrigan that he told his handler about it.

“What use was that to Mr Oliver?” Mr O’Callaghan asked.

Mr Keeley said his undercover work infiltrating the IRA was “a labour of love”.

“It’s a good feeling when you save a life,” he said.

But he also said he had done things he was not proud of.

Mr Keeley rejected allegations from counsel for former detective sergeant Owen Corrigan that he was a “fantasist”, a “liar”, over a “Walter Mitty character”.

He said these allegations were made by former intelligence agencies to discredit his evidence.

“Maybe it’s because if I go down the road, they;’re coming with me.”

The tribunal was set up to look at claims of Garda collusion in the IRA ambush which killed two senior RUC officers, chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Bob Buchanan, as they returned from a meeting in Dundalk garda station on 20 March 1989.