Smithwick postponed for key witness to get by-pass

It is expected that the Smithwick Tribunal will request an extension due to the ill health of the key witness in the case.

It is expected that the Smithwick Tribunal will request an extension due to the ill health of the key witness in the case.

At a hearing this week a cardiologist from Our Lady of Lourdes, a Dr Niamh Murphy, gave evidence that Owen Corrigan needed a heart by-pass and would not be able attend the Tribunal again until next year.

The tribunal is investigating allegations of collusion between members of An Garda and the IRA in the 1989 murders of two RUC men.

Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were both killed in an ambush just minutes after leaving Dundalk Garda station.

Mr Corrigan, a retired detective sergeant, is one of three former sergeants based in Dundalk in the 1980s who have been granted legal representation at the tribunal. The others are Finbarr Hickey and Leo Colton.

Giving evidence on Mr Corrigan’s medical condition yesterday, Dr Murphy said her patient was currently at home but was at risk of a heart attack if he resumed his evidence before having a bypass.

The tribunal has also been pursuing new evidence gleaned from the PSNI in July.

This evidence, described by lawyers at the tribunal as “potentially significant”, related to the possibility of a fourth member of An Garda in the Border area being able to assist the tribunal in its inquiries.

Assistant Chief Constable of the PSNI Drew Harris has been giving evidence on this new material in closed session in recent weeks.