So it turns out, Tom Connolly didn’t have the name of a new Garda mole.
His announcement of “unease” in Dundalk Garda station came as a surprise to the Smithwick tribunal. Fair play demands that everyone has the chance to confront an accuser, so the tribunal didn’t purse the question at the time. They later took a statement from Connolly, so that lawyers could prepared for cross-examination.
Last Wednesday, Connolly returned. He was asked not to name anyone in evidence, but later blurted out a name: Owen Corrigan.
Asked if he’d heard the tribunal’s warning not to mention any names, Connolly said he wore a hearing aid.
Corrigan has previously been named as an alleged IRA mole (most notably by Jeffrey Donaldson under House of Commons privilege). He vehemently denies the allegation, describing it as a “monstrous lie”.
Smithwick was set up to examine claims an Garda mole leaked information leading to the murders of RUC officers Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan in 1989.
To date, the tribunal has heard no evidence that Corrigan (or any other Garda) was a Garda “mole”.
Instead we’ve had “intelligence”.
On Thursday, a Garda spymaster said much intelligence was “gossip, malicious and vexatious information”.