The family of Lord and Lady Gibson have broken their 27-year silence to demand a reinvestigation of alleged Garda-IRA collusion in their loved ones’ murders.
Judge Maurice Gibson and his wife Cecily died in an IRA bomb just after crossing the border in 1987, an attack long surrounded by allegations of Garda collusion.
The Gibson family called for an inquiry in the BBC Spotlight programme last night, backed by former first minister Lord Trimble.
The attack on the Gibsons was one of six controversial murders, shrouded in claims of British or Irish state collusion, that were proposed for further inquiry during 2001 peace talks.
Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory reviewed the killings but the Gibson case was the only one he turned down for an inquiry.
Cory assessed Garda intelligence that stated a member of the Irish police force had helped the IRA murder the Gibsons,but he cast doubt on the intelligence because he believed it was over a decade old.
But Irish judge Peter Smithwick reviewed the evidence as part of his probe into Garda collusion in the murders of RUC officers Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan in south Armagh in 1989. Smithwick’s report, six months ago, found that Cory was “mistaken”.
Smithwick found the intelligence came just three years after the Gibsons’ deaths. And he met the handler of the source of the intelligence, concluding the source was “very reliable”.
During last night’s Spotlight programme, Lord Trimble was asked if the Gibsons should now get the inquiry they were denied.
He said: “Yes. They should have had initially, but especially now when we have got the Smithwick Report there and what is contained within that, there is an overwhelming case.
“It’s quite clear in retrospect now that a mistake was made and that mistake should be put right.”
Last year Smithwick concluded that Irish police colluded with the IRA in the murders of Mr Breen and Mr Buchanan.
In his report, Smithwick said he was “satisfied there was collusion in the murders” and that it was “more likely that the information [about their movements] came from Dundalk Garda station”.
Last night’s programme examined the evidence he heard about a string of other IRA murders along the border, for which he had no remit to draw conclusions.