The schedule at the Smithwick tribunal is predictable; two hours of evidence from 11am to 1pm, and two more from 2pm to 4pm.
Today, the schedule was out of kilter. The morning witness finished early, so the tribunal broke for lunch at 12.30pm. That meant they were returned 30 minutes early at 1.30pm.
The first afternoon witness didn’t take too long, then Kevin Myers took the stand. You can read reports of his evidence elsewhere.
Myers was challenged at length by barrister Jim O’Callaghan, who represents Owen Corrigan.
Corrigan, an ex-garda, denies he leaked information to the IRA, and a 2000 Myers column Myers played a key role in events leading to the tribunal.
At 4.20pm, judge Peter Smithwick asked how muc longer O’Callaghan would be. The stenographer had been working for three solid hours, and other barristers were waiting their turn.
Ten minutes, O’Callaghan promised.
Myers took the opportunity to mention his car, parked outside, and wonder if one of the assembled lawyers would be so kind as to feed the parking meter.
“I’m sure the gardai won’t clamp you this time,” O’Callaghan joked.
Seconds later, a police siren could be heard outside.
“That’s probably my car,” Myers joked.