IRA killings tribunal being delayed by witness refusal

The inquiry into the IRA killing of two senior RUC officers in 1989 is being delayed by a refusal of a key witness to give evidence.

The Smithwick Tribunal was established two years to investigate claims that a garda may have tipped off the IRA about the victims’ movements.

The two officers, Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan, died in an IRA ambush north of the border while returning from a meeting with Gardai in Dundalk.

The collusion claim has been made by a number of people, including a man calling himself Kevin Fulton, who says he was a British agent working within the IRA.

He is refusing to give evidence unless he is granted immunity from prosecution by the British Government and this is being blamed for the tribunal’s failure to hold any public hearings so far.