Tribunal slates ex-garda’s no-show

Smithwick tribunal

The Smithwick tribunal has described as “a great discourtesy” and “contempt” the failure of a former assistant garda commissioner to answer a summons to appear to give evidence.

Former assistant garda commissioner Kevin Carty
Former assistant garda commissioner Kevin Carty. Image © Faduda

The inquiry heard that no response was received to registered letters sent to Kevin Carty, who retired from An Garda Siochana last year.

But although several registered letters were signed by a ‘Kevin Carty’ in the last year, the tribunal had not heard from him.

The tribunal heard that Carty works with the United Nations and is based in Vienna. In 2003 he was appointed as an advisor to the Independent Panel on Safety & Security for UN Personnel in Iraq. He was later appointed to another body, the UN Security in Iraq Accountability Panel.

In 1999, then assistant commissioner Carty led an inquiry into allegations of Garda wrongdoing in Co Donegal which laid the groundwork for the Morris tribunal.

Ten years earlier, as a detective inspector, he worked with assistant commissioner Edward O’Dea in taking statements from Gardai based in Dundalk following the murder of two senior IRA men by the IRA.

The tribunal was set up to look at claims the movements of chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Bob Buchanan were leaked to the IRA by a “mole” in Dundalk garda station, leading to their deaths in an IRA ambush as they returned from a meeting in the border town.

Mr Carty met with tribunal lawyers in 2007 and made a statement at the time, and was then sent several letters this year asking him to come to give evidence or at least confirm that the statement had gave back in 2007 was accurate and sign it.

Tribunal barrister Ms Mary Laverty said she was at a loss to explain why Mr Carty had not turned up. She said she was aware that he was working in Vienna but the letters had been signed for with his name and signature.

Judge Smithwick said it was very very wrong for a former senior garda to treat the Tribunal “with that sort of contempt.” He said he would offer Mr. Carthy an opportunity to appear and give his evidence and warned he would “take a very, very strong view if he doesn’t.”

Later, a garda sergeant was questioned by lawyers representing Freddie Scappaticci, the Belfast republican who denies allegations he was a member of the IRA internal security unit which abducted and killed Mr Tom Oliver, a Cooley farmer who was abducted and murdered in 1991.

Mr Niall Mooney BL put it to Sergeant James Kilcoyne that if someone was a garda informer would they not be likely to tell their handler they’d been abducted. The witness replied that it was not something he would be aware of.

Carlingford-based Sergeant Kilcoyne said he didn’t know if there had been an earlier abduction of Cooley farmer Tom Oliver, who was kidnapped and murdered by the IRA in 1991.

He said people living in border areas would be unlikely to speak about it afterwards if they were abducted by paramilitary groups.