gardai investigating the Dundalk bombing feared collusion existed
between British security forces and loyalist terrorists suspected of a
spate of cross-border bombings in the '70s.
their concerns never went beyond garda headquarters, an Oireachtas
committee was told yesterday.
Supt John Courtney and Det Sgt Owen Corrigan, both now retired, said
they were astounded by the point-blank refusal of the head of the RUC's
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at the time to allow them to
speak to an RUC constable whom they believed had information on a
suspect connected with the December 1975 bombing of Kay's Tavern in
Dundalk that killed two innocent bystanders.
they appealed to the head of the CID to speak to the officer during a
meeting in Belfast in 1979 they met with a wall of silence, the
subcommittee on the Barron Report on the Bombing of Kay's Tavern heard
Corrigan, who was based in Dundalk at the time of the bombing, answered
yes when asked by the committee if he believed there was a high level of
collusion between the British army, the RUC and paramilitary groups -
including a gang based out of Glenane, Co Armagh, which they strongly
suspected of being behind the Dundalk and other bombings in the area at
said his suspicions were confirmed when the senior RUC officer's
formerly co-operative demeanour suddenly changed when they probed him
said you're not seeing that man and totally turned his heels and walked
away. I'd say there was input from other quarters for his attitude to
change so dramatically," he said.
Courtney said he was also shocked at the lack of co-operation from the
British Army concerning the bombings.
British armed forces wouldn't even take a phone call," he told the
committee. "I was very surprised.
committee is holding hearings into the fourth and final report by Judge
Henry Barron into the bombing at Kay's Tavern in the town on December
19, 1975 which killed Hugh Watters, a 60-year-old tailor, and Jack
Rooney, a 62-year-old lorry driver. No one has ever been charged in
connection with their murders.
report concluded that the bombing was carried out by loyalist extremists
and some members of the British security forces were aware of their
involvement, but it was unable to substantiate allegations of collusion.
Sean Alyward, Secretary General of the Department of Justice, said the
detectives did pass on their concerns to garda headquarters but
"the (Justice) department was not notified of this lack of
also noted that new information given to a senior garda from the RUC in
1979 concerning the naming of suspects in the bombing was also passed on
to garda headquarters but the RUC again refused to co-operate further
and the matter was not looked into further by the Justice Department.
Files on the garda investigation into the Dundalk bombing have also gone
missing, he told the committee.
this, the department did not feel that a fullscale inquiry into the
Dundalk and other bombings at the time was warranted, he said. "The
scale of unsolved murder cases in Northern Ireland is massive but I'm
not persuaded that setting up a similar body would bring us any nearer
hearings are adjourned until October 4.