Judge who chaired tribunal into claims of Garda/IRA collusion dies

Judge Peter Smithwick died on Tuesday and is set to be laid to rest following a funeral service in Co Kilkenny on Friday.
Judge who chaired tribunal into claims of Garda/IRA collusion dies

By Rebecca Black, PA

The senior judge who led an inquiry into claims of Garda/IRA collusion into the murder of two RUC officers has died.

Judge Peter Smithwick was aged 85.

He retired as president of Ireland’s District Court and in 2006 went on to lead a tribunal of inquiry into alleged Garda collusion in the 1989 murders of two RUC officers in south Armagh.

Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan were shot and killed shortly after they crossed the border into Northern Ireland as they returned from a meeting at Dundalk Garda Station.

RUC officers Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan who were killed by the IRA in 1989 while returning from a meeting at Dundalk Garda Station (PA)

The IRA claimed the murders of the two senior officers.

After several years of public hearings in Dublin, Judge Smithwick found in 2013 that he was satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, there was collusion in the murders of the police officers.

The finding sparked an apology for failings found in the report by then Irish justice minister Alan Shatter.

The public inquiry was one of a number recommended by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, as part of his report on several controversial killings which was presented to the British and Irish governments in 2003.

Judge Smithwick is set to be laid to rest on Friday following Requiem Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny.

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