IRA victims claim Smithwick findings ‘tip of the iceberg’

File photo dated 03/03/06 of a pair of glasses on the statement by Judge Peter Smithwick on the opening day of the Smithwick Tribunal

File photo dated 03/03/06 of a pair of glasses on the statement by Judge Peter Smithwick on the opening day of the Smithwick Tribunal


Two prominent victims groups believe that the findings of Garda-IRA collusion in the murder of two senior RUC officers are representative of much wider wrongdoing.

Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were shot dead in an IRA ambush in March 1989 in south Armagh.

The Smithwick Tribunal set up by the Irish government in 2005 reported on Tuesday that there was collusion in the murders.

Victims group South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), based in Lisnaskea, argued last night that there must now be “a new generosity shown by the Republic of Ireland state in respect of its full role in the Troubles”.

The organisation described the findings of the Smithwick report as “shocking” but said it was “merely the foreword to a book yet to be written”.

In November 2012 SEFF took a delegation of victims to Dublin to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny and laid bare their experience of what they described as a minority community living in the Fermanagh borderlands and how they faced “a terrorist onslaught at the hands of the IRA”.

They sought acknowledgement that the Irish government “failed to protect life within border communities”.

In a statement last night SEFF’s director of services Kenny Donaldson said: “The report of the Smithwick Tribunal reveals some shocking material which illustrates the ‘dark elements’ within the Republic of Ireland system who overtly and covertly provided support to terrorists.

“Beyond the release of the report, a raft of further questions remain and it is up to the Republic of Ireland administration to finally step forward out of the shadows of the terrorist murder squads created and financed by that state.

“They need to speak the truth of their involvement in supporting the scourge of terrorism and of failing to live up to their requirements laid out within the European Convention on Human Rights, of which the Republic of Ireland is and was a signatory.

“It is not ‘unionist perceptions’ that the Republic of Ireland needs to address, it is the actual security and extradition policies and practices that have been at play in that jurisdiction which need examination.”

Mr Donaldson added: “The Republic of Ireland was not an honest broker in the process; it was not neutral on the ‘North’. It had ‘strategic political, cultural and economic’ interests and this never altered until the removal of articles two and three of that nation’s constitution. Arguably there have been actions since then that would even call this newfound ‘neutrality’ into account.

“Those living in border areas were effectively lambs to the slaughter. Their lives were expendable in the overall quest to pursue a policy objective of reclaiming Ireland’s ‘fourth green field’ of Ulster.”

Spokesman of Markethill victims group FAIR Willie Frazer, who gave evidence to the tribunal, said the Smithwick report was “just the tip of the iceberg”.

He said much evidence of collusion raised during the hearings was “skipped over” because it did not directly relate to the murder of the two senior RUC officers

in question.

“There was the motorbike and clothes from the Narrow Water IRA bombers which were disposed of in a skip,” he alleged.

“We know some people were guilty of covering up evidence that could have been used to bring people to account.

“We have known for 30 years of major collusion along the border. But we know there were also good members of the Garda who also put themselves at risk and saved lives.

“However, there is a world of evidence of wider collusion.”

For example, two weapons used in the Kingsmills massacre were used to shoot Chief Supt Breen and Supt Buchanan, he said.

“The minibus used by the IRA in the Kingsmills massacre was stolen at gunpoint outside Dundalk by a well-known republican. The two men it was taken from knew him and identified him in a statement.”

Mr Frazer believed that the statement of the witnesses had not been acted on.

“We are now moving for civil action against Dublin for the Kingsmills massacre and Narrow Water bombings.”




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