No Garda records found to support death threat claim

Smithwick tribunal

A trawl of garda intelligence records has found no document or report that the life of an Armagh grain importer was in danger as claimed by a former detective sergeant who said he learned of the threat before the businessman was abducted and killed by the IRA.

Last week, former detective sergeant Owen Corrigan told the tribunal that he had not warned Mr McAnulty that there was a threat to his life.

But he said that he would have passed the information to Garda HQ, who could then pass it in turn to the RUC, because Mr McAnulty lived in Northern Ireland.

“As I said I would have reported it to the [Garda] commissioner… and he would have reported it to RUC headquarters,” Mr Corrigan said.

And he said Mr McAnulty “featured in discussions I had with the RUC with whom I had a very close relationship.”

Tribunal barrister Mr Justin Dillon SC said there was “not a shred of a document” to support Mr Corrigan’s evidence that he passed on reports of a threat to Mr McAnuty’s life to Garda HQ.

“It was within your gift to save a man’s life and you didn’t do it,” Mr Dillon said.

“Well I wouldn’t say I didn’t do it,” Mr Corrigan said.

“The situation is I did what I did or I didn’t. I can’t remember.”

The tribunal is investigating allegations of garda collusion in the deaths of two RUC officers, chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Bob Buchanan, as they returned from a security meeting in Dundalk Garda station on 20 March 1989.

Mr Corrigan denies allegations of collusion, and has described them as a “monstrous lie.”

Mr Corrigan was also asked if he was in a position to supply banking recorded sought by the tribunal, but could not say when they would be available.

“As you can appreciate at this particular time the Ulster Bank have their own particular difficulties,” he said.

The tribunal heard evidence in closed session in the afternoon regarding the grading of a 1985 RUC intelligence report which alleged that Mr Corrigan was passing information to the Provisional IRA.

Tribunal chairman Mr Peter Smithwick agreed the transcript of evidence heard in closed session would be read into the public record at a later date, subject to any redactions on security grounds.

Mr Jim O’Callaghan SC said that it was important that the evidence on how the intelligence report was graded should be made public, given how it reflected on his client.