A judge has been criticised for seeking discovery of bank statements on what was meant to be the last day of a lengthy inquiry into alleged IRA/Garda collusion.
Retired Garda Sergeant Owen Corrigan has refused to give his financial records to the Smithwick Tribunal and revealed he never told his legal team about his change of mind some months ago.
The former officer’s barrister Jim O’Callaghan argued that chairman, Judge Peter Smithwick, had had eight years to make an order for the documents.
“My position is this is not necessary,” he said. “He will be questioned.”
The Smithwick Tribunal is probing any links between gardai and the terror group’s ambush of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan on March 20, 1989, shortly after a meeting with a senior garda in Dundalk.
It has sat for 132 days in public, heard evidence from about 200 witnesses, and cost the State millions of euro.
But as it was due to draw to a close, the hearing went in to private session to discuss the garda’s financial affairs.
The judge, who had the option of taking the former Garda to the High Court over the discovery, directed that the outcome of the hearing was not to be made public.
It is not yet known if the chairman will have to apply for a fourth extension to get the information in time, or if he will recall Mr Corrigan as a witness.
Final submissions from all the legal teams begin on June 21.
The tribunal was established in 2005 when Canadian judge, Peter Cory, recommended a public inquiry be held in to allegations of collusion by garda officers, or a civilian in the force.
It opened nearly a year later and was adjourned almost immediately to allow for private investigations. Public hearings started in June 2011.
The final report was initially due in November 2011, but Justice Minister Alan Shatter agreed to a six-month extension after earlier pressure for the inquiry to be wound up sparked a public row with Judge Smithwick.
The judge was granted another five months in May last year as Mr Corrigan’s evidence had to be deferred on medical grounds.
And a third nine month extension was granted in October because of the former garda’s health.
It is then expected to take about three months to write the final report, with printing and editing taking a further month.