RUC offered £5000stg per week for informant

Smithwick tribunal

An RUC officer asked a Garda to offer an IRA suspect in custody in Monaghan garda station £5000 sterling per week to act as an informer in the early 1980s, the Smithwick tribunal heard.Photo of Smithwick tribunal

Retired sergeant Brian Moroney was giving evidence to the tribunal, which is looking at allegations of Garda collusion in the murder of two RUC officers in 1989 on their way back from a meeting in Dundalk Garda station.

“The RUC would call in to country stations,” Moroney told the inquiry. “I had an accused in custody.”

“The RUC came in to discuss the situation.”

“I don’t know how he found out that the accused was in custody.”

“He asked me to offer the accused £5000 sterling every week if he cooperated with the RUC.”

“I am quite certain that was what was on offer.”

“My reaction was it wouldn’t be our job to offer that kind of stuff, we wouldn’t be dealing with that kind of stuff, and I asked him to leave.”

Brian Moroney is a gold Scott medal winner, the highest Garda award for bravery, which he earned in 1975 when he disarmed a man following an armed robbery in Drogheda. He said payments to Garda informants had to be approved by the assistant commissioner in charge of the Crime & Security branch, and would never be so large.

Information was “vital”, he said, and could be submitted by any Garda to the Crime & Security branch using either a confidential Form C77, or by a Garda calling in person.

Michael Diffley, who worked in the Crime & Security section for several years, said Ireland was almost unique in that intelligence gathering was handled by the ordinary police force, and not by a separate agency.

Diffley said intelligence had to be carefully assessed, and “may be gossip, or frivolous or vexatious information.”

Retired sergeant Leo Colton said he had seen a car driving suspiciouly outside Dundalk Garda station with the RUC officers, chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Bob Buchanan, were there on 20 March 1989, and “it was not a hallucination.”

Jim O’Callaghan SC said he would “vigorously” challenge a former British agent when he came to give evidence to an inquiry into allegations of collusion.

The barrister represents former detective sergeant Owen Corrigan, who has labelled the allegation a “monstrous lie”.

O’Callaghan told the chairman, Mr Justice Peter Smithwick, that Canadian judge Peter Cory had recommended a tribunal based on a report from Fulton who said that when he was an undercover agent, his IRA commander told him they received information from Sergeant Corrigan.

“That’s the only piece of evidence against my client,” O’Callaghan said. “I want to dispute it and I will dispute it vigorously when Mr Fulton is called to give evidence.”