The Morris Tribunal into Garda corruption allegations was suspended today following the death of senior counsel Eamon Leahy, a key legal figure in the inquiry.
Tribunal chairman Mr Justice Frederick Wood, a former president of the High Court, said the proceedings, which have been sitting in Donegal town for the past month – would be adjourned until a date to be fixed.
Mr Leahy, who died suddenly, aged 46, yesterday after being taken ill in his Donegal hotel, was leading the legal team for the Garda Siochana at the inquiry, which has been examining the circumstances surrounding the garda investigation of the 1996 death in Raphoe, Co Donegal, of local cattle dealer Richie Barron.
Mr Justice Morris led tributes to Mr Leahy when the tribunal briefly assembled yesterday.
The Donegal-based hearings had been due for completion next week, but the chairman said that would not now be possible.
The Morris Tribunal was put in place by the Oireachtas almost two years ago to inquire into a series of claims about improper garda activities in Co Donegal during the 1990s.
It began hearing evidence in early March, firstly relating to separate allegations that two detectives helped an IRA informer prepare explosives that were later planted and then found in bogus successful garda strikes against terrorist activities.
That dimension of the broader inquiry has also been adjourned and will resume back in Dublin later this year.
In all, the hearings are expected to last as long as two years.
The present module of the proceedings has been staged in Donegal for the convenience of locally-based witnesses.