Tribunal hopes to conclude in two weeks

Smithwick tribunal

The Smithwick tribunal into allegations of Garda/IRA collusion hopes to conclude hearing evidence by the end of next week (Friday 21 July) when former detective sergeant Owen Corrigan concludes his evidence.

Mr Corrigan has been giving evidence since the beginning of June, but in recent weeks has been limited to two hours a day, twice a week, because of health issues.

The tribunal heard from Mr Corrigan’s GP, Dr Eva Fasie, that because of ongoing health problems including type II diabetes, he would be unable to give evidence for longer than two hours per day, and would need a 48 hour gap between days before the tribunal.

The doctor said that Mr Corrigan had confirmed to her that he “had a stressful time” giving evidence to the tribunal, and had developed new symptoms in recent times including asthma and diabetes.

She said that if his blood sugar levels fell, Mr Corrigan could become confused and dizzy.

“I’m a great believer in a cup of tea,” tribunal chairman Mr Peter Smithwick said. “If he had tea with sugar, would that help?”

The doctor agreed that rest breaks in Mr Corrigan’s evidence would be helpful.

“I have advised him not to go for more than two hours for a session,” she told the retired district court president.

Questioned by Mr Corrigan’s barrister, Mr Jim O’Callaghan SC, the doctor sad that while there was a risk of dementia in diabetes cases, she had not noted this in Mr Corrigan’s case, although there had been some occasions when he had confused appointment dates.

The tribunal chairman suggested Saturday sittings, as Mr Corrigan would only be able to give evidence this week on Tuesday and Thursday.

However Mr O’Callaghan suggested that as there was only an estimated ten hours of evidence remaining from his client, he could give evidence on Tuesday and Thursday this week, and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week.