Secret evidence will be put no tribunal record

Smithwick tribunal

Evidence given behind closed doors by a former British intelligence agent will be read into the record next week, the Smithwick tribunal said today.

Former Army intelligence officer Ian Hurst (also known as Martin Ingram) appeared before the tribunal this week, but the press and public were excluded from the hearings.

Tribunal chairman Peter Smithwick said Hurst’s evidence would be examined by him when completed, and redacted to remove any sensitive information, before being made public.

Meanwhile, an officer with the Force Research Unit identified only by the cipher Witness 82 gave evidence today (Friday).

Tribunal barrister Mr Justin Dillon SC said the witness had no evidence to give about garda collusion allegations which formed the tribunal’s terms of reference, but “was in a position to assist you in relation to certain matters introduced by Mr Hurst.”

Hurst worked for the British Army’s Force Intelligence Unit (FRU) in Northern Ireland for three years during his career as an army intelligence officer.

The Force Research Unit – later renamed the Joint Services Group – was described by tribunal barrister Ms Mary Laverty as “a British Army core unit in Northern Ireland, recruiting, developing and controlling army human intelligence assets”.

The tribunal is examining allegations of garda collusion in the 1989 IRA killings of two senior RUC officers, chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Bob Buchanan, as they returned from a meeting in Dundalk Garda station.