Gerry Adams’ alleged role in the killing of Cooley farmer, Tom Oliver, who was accused by the IRA of passing information to the Gardai, has surfaced once again following the appearance of new Garda Commissioner and former PSNI Deputy Chief Constable, Drew Harris at a Dail Justice committee last week.
Harris, who was also the PSNI liaison with MI5, was asked whether the name of the IRA leader who turned down pleas to spare Tom Oliver, and which he had written down for the Smithwick Tribunal, was in fact that of Gerry Adams. Harris dodged the question, referring the matter to the PSNI.
Independent Dail deputy, Peter Fitzpatrick then went on the LMFM radio station to raise questions about Adams’ role in the affair and Adams’ responded in an interview on the same radio station which can be heard here. His section starts at 49 minutes, 30 seconds and ends at one hour, seven minutes and fifty seconds. (Thanks to MO for the tip-off)
The background to the controversy is this: Mr Harris gave evidence in a private session of the Smithwick Tribunal which was investigating allegations of IRA infiltration of the Garda Siochana in the Border area. Inter alia, he told the tribunal that intelligence evidence unearthed by the Northern security forces – the RUC and MI5 – suggested that local IRA members wanted to spare Oliver’s life and had approached a senior IRA figure seeking clemency.
Their appeal was rebuffed and Oliver was then shot dead in a particularly brutal fashion. Six bullets were fired into his skull.
When asked by the tribunal chairman, Judge Peter Smithwick, who this senior IRA figure was, Harris agreed to write it down and give it to the judge.
By the way, Mr Adams used his interview to declare his belief that I am not a reputable journalist. He then went on to describe his role in attempting to find justice for the family of Seamus Ludlow, killed in mysterious circumstances near his Co Louth home in 1976, while neglecting to tell the audience that I was the reporter who first reported the truth of Ludlow’s killing.