Monaghan 'republican' who would eventually become the Loughgall informer was worth 5K per week to the RUC in the early 1980s, while this individual would later be arrested in the north and sentenced to a few months in jail, the more serious charges against him were dropped in return for his continued co-operation following his release from Long Kesh (The Maze). When arrested in the north the Monaghan tout filled dozens of pages of statements and was then placed in Crumlin Road jail as a mole to get close to Seamus Mc Elwaine (Scotstown, Monaghan) who was facing serious charges at that time.
The tout would spend over 200K refurnishing a run-down pub left to him by his uncle in the mid-1980s, the tout enjoyed foreign holidays at a time when most republicans in Monaghan were living on low income or social welfare.
An RUC officer walked into Monaghan Garda station in the early 1980s and asked the gardaí to offer STG£5,000 (€5,675) a week to a suspect then being interrogated in the building, the Smithwick Tribunal has been told.
Former Garda sergeant Brian Moroney, a gold Scott medal winner, said it was not unusual for RUC officers to visit Border Garda stations at the time and he was present in Monaghan Garda station in the early 1980s when such a visit took place.
Mr Moroney told the tribunal he never knew how the RUC had known the suspect was in custody in the building but that his recollection was clear. He said the RUC officer had asked the suspect be offered the money, which would come from the RUC, in return for on-going co-operation.
Mr Moroney said: "I am quite certain what was on offer. My reaction was it wouldn't be our job to offer that kind of stuff, and we wouldn't be dealing with that kind of stuff and I asked him to leave."
Mr Moroney said "down here" money for paying informers was small and in the tens, rather than in the thousands of pounds. It had to be drawn from C Branch in Garda headquarters.
Former chief superintendent Michael Diffley of the Garda crime and security, intelligence unit, told the tribunal relations between intelligence services north and south of the Border at the time were very close and that visits by RUC officers south of the Border were frequent.
Mr Diffley, who served as a senior garda in the Border region and who also served as private secretary to former Garda Commissioner Eugene Crowley, said the Border area was a very difficult environment for gardaí as they were aware of IRA intelligence monitoring them and their families.
He said in an unusual environment some policing was unusual and that minor levels of smuggling among gardaí were tolerated.
However, he differentiated between what he termed "commercial smuggling" and the smuggling of groceries in terms of a weekly shopping. He said he knew of people who shopped north of the Border because the towns were closer to their homes, even though they lived in the Republic. He remarked: "I don't call that smuggling".
"I don't want to be misunderstood when I talk about acceptable smuggling but I am only talking about the real world".
He agreed with counsel for the tribunal Mary Laverty SC that what he termed commercial smuggling would require the consent of the IRA at the time. He particularly mentioned noted republican sympathiser Thomas "Slab" Murphy whose consent would be required for those smuggling along Border roads in the Dundalk area, he said.
Mr Diffley said he did not know the level of smuggling that may have been engaged in by Det Sgt Owen Corrigan who, the tribunal has previously heard, allegedly had very good intelligence links with the IRA.
Mr Diffley said he had heard "no specific mention of a specific [IRA] mole in Dundalk" and was not aware of any evidence to tarnish Mr Corrigan in that regard.
Mr Corrigan has consistently denied he was an IRA mole in Dundalk and is represented at the tribunal by Jim O'Callaghan SC. He is expected to give evidence to the tribunal at a later date.
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