Transcript of the Garda Commissioner’s Address at the press conference in Farmleigh House on Wednesday 4th December on the Report of the Smithwick Tribunal
In May 2005 the Smithwick Tribunal was established to inquire into suggestions that members of An Garda Siochana or other employees of the State colluded in the fatal shooting of RUC Chief Constable Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Robert Buchanan on March 20th 1983 as they returned to Northern Ireland from a meeting in Dundalk Garda Station.
On Tuesday 4th December the findings of the tribunal were published and on Wednesday 5th The Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice Equality and Defence held a press conference in Farmleigh House. In response to questions from the press the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said: Start of transcript:
I do accept that the Chairman has indicated that in the report that the findings of collusion was based on the balance of probability and that no individual or group of individuals has been held directly responsible for colluding with the IRA in this cowardly act, non the less this is a report that has ran for the guts of 8 years. We are now looking at the report in lass that 24 hours – that I had an opportunity to examine it and I need to study it in great detail.
I think it is important to indicate that we have moved on considerable from almost 25 years in terms of how we do our business and these were very dark times for the Country. This is a time when the PIRA were at their height, these are a terrorist organisation. I think that there’s lots of empirical evidence indicating a level of intimidation, the injury and the death that was sustained on both sides of the border, both in terms of An Garda Siochana, PSNI and formally the RUC that have gone on in the past and I think we have to acknowledge the wonderful work that has gone on in the in relation to intercepting these people who do not subscribe to the democratic order of the State either in Northern Ireland or here in the south of Ireland.
It is important to remember those things, members of An Garda Siochana who have put their lives on the line including the PSNI and that should never be lost sight of. Of course it is intensely disappointing to me as Commissioner of An Garda Siochana to learn that on the balance of probability the tribunal findings that people in my organisation betrayed us.
Paul Reynolds RTE asked: Do you believe it Commissioner?
Well of course I accept the findings, the conclusions arrived at by the Chairman. On the balance of probability of course it isn’t the same threshold as criminal proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but that said the matter is so serious that it requires very, very careful consideration and that is what I will be doing over the coming weeks is considering on a line by line basis the report that has taken almost 8 years to arrive at. We will learn lessons where lessons are required and we will also look at the recommendations that the tribunal have made in the context of that report and will do whatever is necessary.
I should say that anybody who has any information or evidence of any wrongdoing on behalf of any individual in my organisation past or present, I would sincerely love to hear about it, in the same way if anybody is in possession of information that would lead to advancing the investigation with a view to a prosecution you can depend that I as Commissioner and my senior officers will act swiftly.
End of transcript.