Detective says Donaldson put his life in danger

Smithwick tribunal

A former garda detective sergeant has told the Smithwick tribunal his life was put in danger when he was identified as an IRA mole in the House of Commons by unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson.

Owen Corrigan was identified by the Lagan Valley MP in April 2000, following the publication of Bandit Country, a book which alleged garda collusion in the 1989 deaths of two senior RUC officers, chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Bob Buchanan.

Mr Corrigan said that Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalists following comments in Parliament, and said “Mr Donaldson set out to achieve the same modus operandi as his predecessor in the House of Commons.”

The former special branch detective has always rejected the accusaion of collusion, describing it as a “monstrous lie”.

Mr Corrigan said in 2001 the British government was under pressure to hold an inquiry into the shooting of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane during the Weston Park negotiations, and sought to shift the spotlight on to the Irish government.

“That’s why I’m here,” he told tribunal lawyer Justin Dillon SC.

“I was the victim on the double.”

“There is a political undertone to all this.”

Mr Corrigan said there was no evidence against him “except the word of a convicted criminal, Jeffrey Donaldson, and faceless RUC men who hid behind screens. They have never met me, how could they know me?”

“No policeman worth his salt pays any attention to what politicians say,” he added. “They will say anything”

And he said British agent Peter Keeley (also known as ‘Kevin Fulton’) “was damaged goods.”

“In any court a person of that credibility wouldn’t be entertained,” Mr Corrigan said.

He said his name appeared in RUC files because the IRA wanted to discredit him, and he “was their arch enemy.”

“That’s the oldest trick in the book, to do down your enemy,” he said.

“I was the one who paid the price. I’m the meat in the sandwich so to speak.”