Smithwick Tribunal: Former Provisional IRA leaders met Tribunal’s legal team “in recent weeks”

The BBC reports that, at today’s public hearing, the Smithwick Tribunal was told that its legal team had held “a face-to face meeting with three former members of the Provisional IRA in recent weeks.”  From the BBC report

It was told the three former IRA leaders, one of whom had a command role in the attack, had met the tribunal.

Their evidence will be presented to the inquiry shortly.

The tribunal was told the IRA members gave detailed accounts and replied to questions from the inquiry team.

The two police officers were shot dead after a meeting at Dundalk Garda station.

On Tuesday, it emerged that Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan had been returning from a meeting with Irish police to discuss the the possibility of launching a joint operation on lands owned by Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, regarded as the most senior republican at that time in south Armagh.

The details, which have yet to be heard, were submitted in a written statement from the counsel to the inquiry.

That’s 5 years after a request for such a meeting was made to the Sinn Féin leadership.  And, as the BBC report notes, 2 years after Ireland’s attorney general confirmed that information given by potential witnesses “cannot be used in a future prosecution and any witnesses would be given immunity”.

According to the Louth TD, and Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin facilitated this process because of our commitment to assisting bereaved families if and when we can. This may not be possible in all cases.

Indeed…

Mr Adams also said

The closure which victims, victim’s families and survivors deserve, demands that those who contributed to the conflict have to pledge ourselves to tell and to listen to the truth about the past.

Which, for some reason, reminds me of the comments of US Ambassador to Ireland, James Kenny, on one of Mr Adams’ previous statements

Gerry Adams was branded “absurd” and “disingenuous” by the top US diplomat in Ireland, leaked cables reveal.