The widow of former RUC Chief Constable Sir Jack Hermon has firmly defended him from “highly offensive” claims that he failed to probe the murder of his two officers.
Independent MP for North Down, Lady Sylvia Hermon, made the defence yesterday in the wake of publication of findings of the Smithwick Tribunal, which this week concluded that a leak from Dundalk Garda station had been involved in the IRA murders of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan in March 1989.
Speaking after the double IRA murders, Sir Jack agreed with senior Gardai assertions that there had been no leak, saying: “There was no mole and we would ask that this be discounted very firmly and very quickly.”
Criticism had been directed towards Sir Jack’s assessment this week in the wake of Judge Smithwick’s findings.
But his widow yesterday said her late husband had no evidence of any such mole in 1989 and if he had he would have “acted on it immediately”.
She said: “Whatever the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal, the overriding fact remains that two fine RUC officers were brutally murdered by the IRA in March 1989.”
She said the pain and sense of loss for their families must be “immense” and added that she was “very sorry indeed” that their lives were cut short by “a gang of IRA murderers”.
Her husband had been “deeply angry” about the murders and was “intensely loyal” to his officers.
If he had had “a shred of real evidence of collusion he would have said so and acted on it immediately”. However, there wasn’t that evidence and she finds it “highly offensive” to hear him accused after his death of having failed to properly investigate the murders. “My husband would never have done that,” she added.