The new DUP chief Jeffrey Donaldson has alleged that a Garda mole was involved in the murder of two RUC officers by the IRA.
By Deirdre Younge.
In April 2000, Jeffrey Donaldson, the new DUP leader, stood up in the House of Commons and said live on television that former Dundalk Garda station special division sergeant, Owen Corrigan, was from connivance in the murders of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen. H Division Commanding Officer and Superintendent Bob Buchanan while visiting Dundalk Garda Station on March 20, 1989. Donaldson alleged that Corrigan notified the IRA of the arrival of the two officers at the station. .
As it happened, the IRA operation had started early in the morning before Breen left the Armagh police station where he was based.
Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan were shot dead by the South Armagh Brigade on the Edenappa Road in South Armagh a few hundred yards above the border as they made their way to Bessbrook Barracks in the afternoon from 20.
Breen had been ordered by Police Chief Sir John Hermon to speak to the Gardai about a joint operation to “do something” about Tom “Slab” Murphy and his smuggling activities. In fact, Breen had advised the guards to ignore such suggestions from the newly arrived members of the British Army.
On the same day Donaldson made his statement, Charlie Flanagan, the former justice minister, showed up at the Dail and called for an investigation into Garda’s collusion.
At a dinner in Stormont hosted by Secretary of State Tom King the previous week, Breen and another Chief Border Superintendent, Witness 27 in Smithwick Court, were joined by two British officers – described as ” two colonels ”newly arrived in southern Armagh. One of the officers described how, one day, 24 trucks rolled out of Slab Murphy’s yard that straddled the South Armagh border, allegedly for a smuggling operation. King was furious and demanded action against Murphy.
Breen and his fellow officer were both disgusted that a civilian, though Secretary of State, ordered an operation based on a loose conversation over dinner, fueled by newly arrived officers who had no border work experience. Breen asked his then sergeant Alan Mains to investigate the incidents, and he discovered that the military was only monitoring 2 trucks, as he revealed to Smithwick court.
Donaldson had been convinced by encounters with the former informant / agent of the British Army and other agencies, Kevin Fulton whose real name was Newry man, Peter Keeley. Fulton, aka Keeley, had joined the Royal Irish Ranger in 1978 and in 1980 while serving in Germany was offered the opportunity to return to Newry as an informant / undercover agent for the army intelligence and later FRU. (He then worked for RUC Special Branch, M15 and finally CID). Keeley readily accepted the proposal and was debriefed by Lt. Col. Victor Williams, who later died in the Chinook crash in Wrexham, Cheshire. The goal was to fight his way through the IRA in Newry and Dundalk, which he ultimately did by becoming the driver and accomplice of Commander Patrick “Mooch” Blair.
By 2000, Keeleys’ varied career as an informant had come to an end. His last manager in CID Economic Crimes where he had been a participating informant tried to get him a relocation package but he was blocked by M15. Keeley, now a former agent with a grievance, joined other whistleblowers called whistleblowers and aimed to cause as much trouble as possible for his former employers who left him behind.
In 1999, Keeley was introduced to Willie Frazer in Armagh. Frazer, who was now leading his own group of victims. He began to introduce Keeley as a former Agent Fulton, to influential trade unionists, especially as Frazer said “Lords and people like that”.
One of the campaigns launched by Frazer and his group was to investigate the murders of Breen and Buchanan. Frazer wanted answers as to why the British Army had not intervened in the Breen and Buchanan ambush. The Royal Fusiliers were carrying out a major demining operation around the Kilnasaggart / Edenappa Road area during the previous fortnight before the killings, which was to end as soon as Breen gave the green light to the RUC commander to reopen the line of railway. However Frazer became persuaded by some men in the RUC that the collusion was coming from Dundalk Garda station and in particular from Owen Corrigan.
Fulton was used as a vehicle for the allegations against Corrigan – which he had notified the IRA on the afternoon the two RUC men arrived. It wasn’t just fiction, but Fulton would steer clear of Smithwick’s claims altogether.
However, Donaldson rose in the House of Commons and repeated the allegation that Owen Corrigan was the accomplice. As it was broadcast live on BBC Parliament and could be received at Dundalk, the allegations have had a devastating effect on Corrigan’s life.
In 2003, Fulton / Keeley was then brought by Willie Frazer to Judge Peter Cory, charged with investigating collusion in various incidents after the Weston Park deal between the two governments. During a meeting at the Merrion Hotel, Dublin “Fulton” alleged that Owen Corrigan told Patrick “Mooch” Blair, the IRA commander, outside Dundalk station that the two officers had arrived there. According to Frazer, who was the only other person in the room when Fulton met Cory in 2003, Judge Cory did not reveal the actual allegation in his report. Frazer also said that the so-called Fulton statement in the report hardly resembled the conversation, that there had been no actual statement, and that Cory actually wrote all the writing during the meeting. However, Cory ultimately called for a public inquiry into the Breen and Buchanan murders, which resulted in the establishment of the Smithwick Court in 2005. Public hearings finally began in 2011. Drew Harris, then PSNI chief assistant, was the liaison officer. between the security services, the PSNI police chief and former RUC men.
By the time Fulton aka Keeley testified in Smithwick, the allegations had completely morphed again.
By testifying in December 2011, Fulton / Keeleys’ central allegation had completely changed. Now he maintained that the meeting between Blair and Corrigan had not taken place in 1989 but in 1991 and that the information conveyed had nothing to do with the murders of Breen and Buchanan but concerned Louth farmer Tom Oliver, giving information to the Gardai. But what Fulton didn’t realize was that Corrigan left Dundalk Station in 1989 on sick leave never to return.
Willie Frazer was stunned by Fulton’s change of allegation. He himself believed he had been deliberately excluded from any involvement by a senior politician and lawyer who had decided on the “course to follow.”
Fulton / Keeley then admitted during their three-day testimony that the allegations about Breen and Buchanan were not actually about Corrigan, but an IRA Garda in Newry called “our friend” who allegedly gave information to the IRA. “Our friend,” he said, he had “thought” was or could have been Corrigan but in reality he did not know the identity of the Guard.
Keeley Fulton admitted in cross-examination that he did not, in fact, have any evidence linking Corrigan to the murders of Chief Superintendent Breen and Buchanan.
Jeffrey Donaldson made a heinous allegation about the murders of the two RUC officers, based on a lie. Donaldson made a statement to Smithwick but refused to drop his accusations which were based solely on conversations with Fulton. He himself admitted to lying for his own purposes. M15 finally got Fulton under their control in 2005 when they gave him housing and income.
It took new Guard Commissioner Drew Harris and his court appearance to dismiss Fulton and his allegations. However, Smithwick’s gullible trust in Fulton / Keeley could not be shaken.
OTHER STORIES ABOUT THE BREEN AND BUCHANAN MURDERING AND OTHER GARDA-RUC-PSNI AFFAIRS ON THIS WEBSITE:
How Drew Harris Hijacked Smithwick Court.
Nail Harry Breen
Investigation: the illusion
Drew Harris attracted.
SMITHWICK’S SECRET WITNESS
MI5 FLIES A FALSE FLAG.