Call for Garda-PSNI inquiry into IRA killings in Dundalk area

Tom Oliver from Cooley, who was killed by the IRA for allegedly passing information on their activities to Gardaí in Dundalk

Tom Oliver from Cooley, who was killed by the IRA for allegedly passing information on their activities to Gardaí in Dundalk

Relatives of those killed in IRA attacks in the Dundalk Border area have called for a joint Garda-PSNI inquiry following the publication of the Smithwick Tribunal report last week.

The calls relate to a range of cases where information which may have been of assistance to the killers was available to gardaí in Dundalk.

Last week the Smithwick Tribunal found that, on the balance of probability, the IRA was given a tip-off from someone inside Dundalk Garda Station, which assisted in the killings of RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan in March 1989.

Amongst the cases that relatives want reviewed is the bombing of a Brinks Mat security van in 1985, moments after the RUC had taken over escort duty from gardaí as the van crossed the border. Four RUC officers, William Wilson (28), Stephen Rodgers (19), David Baird (22) and Tracy Doak (21) were killed.

Another up for possible review is the killing of Appeal Court judge Maurice Gibson and his wife Cecily shortly after crossing the border in April 1987 and the killings of Robert and Maureen Hanna and they son David as they returned from Disneyland via Dundalk in July 1988.

From a local perspective there has also been calls to investigation the killing of Cooley farmer Tom Oliver, who was murdered by the IRA after claims he had passed information to gardaí in Dundalk about IRA activities.

Another case that could be examined is the killing of contractor Terence McKeever, who was killed by the IRA in Cullyhanna in June 1986.

Speaking to The Irish Times, solicitor John McBurney, who represented the family of Harry Breen, and now represents the Hanna family, said there was evidence gardaí in Dundalk were told in advance of the movements of at least some of the victims.

He said the Smithwick Tribunal had sight of a memo from

gardaí in Drogheda providing details of the car in which Lord Justice Gibson and his wife Cecily were travelling.

Mr McBurney said the two older Hanna children “who were orphaned by the killing of their parents and brother” now wanted to know if details of the movements of Judge Higgins had also been supplied to Dundalk gardaí.

He said the families of other victims would also want to know if a tip-off played a part in their murders.

“These were killings which happened in the North and in the new spirit of co-operation between gardaí and the PSNI, we would like to see a joint inquiry or review of these cases,” said Mr McBurney.

Source: The Irish Times

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