Judge in blistering attack on Irish police

Judge Peter Smithwick

Judge Peter Smithwick

Judge Peter Smithwick has unleashed a blistering attack on the Garda – accusing it of prizing loyalty over honesty.

The tribunal chairman said he was depressed and disheartened that a culture still exists in the force where its reputation takes priority over everything else.

“Loyalty is prized above honesty,” he said.

In his report, Judge Smithwick takes on the Garda Commissioner, whose lawyers he accused of setting out to undermine former chief superintendent Tom Curran.

Describing Mr Curran as of the utmost integrity, the tribunal fully accepted evidence from the former Monaghan police boss that he told Garda HQ in 1988 that Superintendent Bob Buchanan was on an IRA hit list.

The intelligence, from an informant, was passed to then assistant commissioner Eugene Crowley but there are no records or files to show the information was acted upon.

Shockingly, Judge Smithwick states Mr Buchanan and Chief Superintendent Harry Breen might not have been murdered if Garda HQ had warned their counterparts in Northern Ireland about the intelligence.

“Had this been done, the life of Superintendent Buchanan, and consequently that of Chief Superintendent Breen, may have been saved,” he said.

Furthermore, there are no files in Garda HQ about intelligence handed over by Mr Curran suggesting former Dundalk-based detective sergeant Owen Corrigan was “inappropriately associating” with the IRA.

The lack of records were branded a “serious concern” in the report.

Elsewhere, Judge Smithwick found two internal Garda reviews – one in 1989 and another in 2000 - were flawed as key people were not questioned.


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