Denial over Dail debate

FORMER Minister for Justice John O’Donoghue has rejected suggestions that he attempted to stifle Dáil debate and “put people off” discussing reports of an IRA informer in Dundalk Garda Station.

FORMER Minister for Justice John O’Donoghue has rejected suggestions that he attempted to stifle Dáil debate and “put people off” discussing reports of an IRA informer in Dundalk Garda Station.

Mr O’Donoghue told the Smithwick Tribunal on Friday, November 18 that a Garda investigation had concluded there was “no tangible evidence” into the allegations about informers in Dundalk.

Mr O’Donoghue said then Fine Gael TD Jim Higgins, had offered to give him the names of the two alleged IRA informers in the Garda and that he had subsequently not asked Mr Higgins for them.

He said he was “not sure” he believed Mr Higgins and was not surprised to learn that gardaí who subsequently carried out a review of the evidence had also not asked Mr Higgins for the names.

Mr O’Donoghue said the Garda review of the evidence found - in line with the initial investigation - that there was no evidence to support allegations of collusion between gardaí in Dundalk and the IRA.

Meanwhile, earlier in the week, a high ranking official of the Department of Justice told the Smithwick Tribunal that there was no “prima facie case” to support an inquiry into allegations of collusion between members of Dundalk Gardaí and the IRA.

Ken O’Leary, assistant general secretary of the Department of Justice, told the tribunal concerns in relation to Garda-IRA collusion in Dundalk in the late 1980s had been sparked by an article published in March 2000 in The Irish Times.

The article, written by journalist Kevin Myers, claimed an IRA mole had been responsible for the deaths of two senior RUC officers who were ambushed by the IRA as the returned from a meeting in Dundalk Garda station in March 1989.

In a parliamentary question in April 2000, Mr Higgins asked why there had been no follow-up by the Garda after this article was published.