Terrorist murders: new probe ordered into police links claim

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The Independent Online

An Irish Government move to re-examine allegations that police leaks to the IRA led to a dozen terrorist killings was welcomed by opposition politicians today.

Justice Minister John O'Donoghue ordered the probe after saying the allegations were "of the utmost seriousness," and highlighting their recent repetition in the media.

He stressed that previous investigations into the claims had uncovered no evidence that information was passed to the IRA by an informant in Ireland's Garda Siochana police force.

But the minister added: "I believe that even though there is no evidence to substantiate these allegations, every effort must be made to assure and reassure the public that they have been thoroughly investigated."

The deaths involved in the allegations include those of former Northern Ireland Lord Chief Justice Gibson and his wife and four members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. They were murdered during the 1980s and 1990s.

Jim Higgins, justice spokesman for the Fine Gael opposition party, said the development was welcome, and commented: "If you look at the atrocities in which these people were murdered, the one thread of continuity is that on this side of the border, only a very small group within the Gardai could have known the movements of each of the victims.

"In four of the five cases, cross-border traffic was involved. Precise information was passed to the IRA and 12 murders ensued.

"No intensive follow-up was carried out by the Gardai and you had half-hearted internal inquiries. And at the end of the day nobody was charged."

Mr Higgins said the names of certain suspects in the Irish force were "being openly bandied about".

He added: "Opening the files has to be only the beginning. What we need is a full and thorough investigation.

"We need to bring those responsible to book."