Garda/IRA collusion probe may be extended

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The judge presiding over a probe into claims of Garda/IRA collusion has asked the government in the Irish Republic to extend his inquiry by almost a year to July, 31, 2013.

If granted this will be the third extension given to the Smithwick Tribunal, which has been running since 2005 to investigate claims that the Garda helped the IRA murder senior police officers Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan in south Armagh on March 20, 1989.

Judge Peter Smithwick wrote in a letter to the Irish government – which was published on the Oireachtas website on Saturday, dated October 10 – that he was seeking an extension because a key witness is set to undergo a major operation and also due to what he has described as “highly relevant intelligence material from security agencies in Northern Ireland”.

*Full report in Monday’s News Letter