Unionist politicians last night agreed that there were much wider questions of Irish state collusion with the IRA which now need to be explored.
DUP Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said there are still “serious questions” to be addressed regarding the IRA murder of Lord and Lady Gibson on the border two years before the murder of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan.
“We now also believe there was evidence of collusion in the murder of Louth farmer Tom Oliver,” he said.
“And there was evidence of failure on the part of the Garda to help the RUC investigation into the Narrow Water bombing – not direct collusion in the bomb but a lot more could have been done to apprehend those responsible and they failed to do it. Also, consideration must be given to extradition issues at that time.”
Parliamentary research by DUP MP David Simpson found that 93 per cent of extradition requests for terror suspects were refused by the Republic during the Troubles.
“The Republic of Ireland has as much to answer for as any other player in this situation,” Mr Donaldson said.
“Another aspect is the failing of senior gardai to deal with reports about a number of individual officers accused of collusion.”
He referred specifically to claims made to the inquiry by retired Garda chief superintendent Tom Curran, who said he took information about collusion in person to Garda assistant commissioner Eugene Crowley.
Mr Curran told the tribunal that the now deceased Mr Crowley did not acknowledge the information and instead changed the subject to ask him how things were in Monaghan, where Mr Curran was based.
Mr Donaldson added: “In reviewing the report and addressing the conclusions, the current Garda commissioner needs to explain why there was a failure to deal with these accusations of collusion.”
Newry and Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin called for other murder cases in the border area around Newry and south Armagh to be reopened in light of the Smithwick findings.
“I recall the murder of four young RUC officers at Killeen in 1985, blown up as they provided security for a cash in transit van crossing the border.
“The murders of Lord Chief Justice Gibson and his wife in 1987 whilst crossing the border at Killeen which was already the subject of the Cory Report into collusion.
“The Hanna family blown up at Killeen in 1986, apparently in a case of mistaken identity, and the abduction and murder of RUC Constable Louis Robinson, again whilst crossing the border at
Killeen in 1990.
“These are just a few of the cases that need to be looked into as a matter of urgency so as to establish if their personal details, including vehicles and travel plans, had in fact been passed to the Garda at Dundalk in advance.”
Newry and Mourne UKIP councillor Henry Reilly added: “Other killings that created suspicion include Justice and Lady Gibson.
“There are many accounts over the years of Garda tip-offs on raids.
“Many security staff here privately suggest that the lack of arrests at fuel laundering plants is still because of Garda tip-offs.”