Smithwick and Mains- a taster

The Belfast Telegraph has published a gushing article about Alan Mains.  What it does not mention is his controversial evidence at the Smithwick Inquiry. This investigated the murders of Breen and Buchanan by PIRA.

It has never been clear why Mains did not accompany his friend and boss , Breen to Dundalk.

Three possibilities immediately present themselves:

  1. He was never tasked to go.
  2. He asked Breen might he have time off to play rugby.
  3. He wanted to go to the gym.

Readers need to study the report to decide which, if any of these is the truth. The rugby one is repeated in the Belfast Telegraph article.

Jamie Bryson wrote about Mains in his  book , Three Headed Dog. He alleged that Mains worked for MI5. He was Kevin Fulton’s handler, inter alia.

Mains never sued.

Most RUC officers I have spoken to regard Mains as a fantasist, claiming to have been here and there, without cause.

He went so far to tell me that he had been at the scene of my parents’ murders, yet nobody I have spoken to recalls him being there or why he would have had any need to be there. There is no evidence in the papers I have seen , of his presence.

His rise to stardom was connected to his friendship with Ronnie Flanagan, that bibulous womaniser, who did the bidding of the British state in rebranding the RUC.

Anyway, don’t take my word for it, read Smithwick.

So Dear Belfast Telegraph, next time you want to eulogise someone like Mains, do you homework.

Here is the extract.

“6.1.16 Mr Mains gave evidence over the course of two days and was robustly cross – examined by both counsel for the Garda Commissioner and counsel for Mr Owen Corrigan. It is fair to say that one of the central points of their cross – examination is that Mr Mains’ original statement of 22nd March 1989 appears inconsistent with his evidence about:

(i) Chief Superintendent Breen asking Mr Mains him to accompany him to Dundalk;

(ii) his being asked to phone Bob Buchanan to see if Superintendent Buchanan was available to go to Dundalk; and

(iii) his making a telephone call to the Dundalk Garda Station on Chief Superintendent Breen’s behalf to arrange the meeting.

It was, in essence, suggested that Mr Mains’ written statement of 22nd March 1989 does not support his evidence in relation to these three aspects and therefore affects his overall credibility as a witness.

6.1.17 It is the case that the following part of Mr Mains’s statement does not sit easily with his evidence in relation to his role in setting up the meeting in Dundalk:

“He [Chief Superintendent Breen] informed me that he had to attend a meeting in Dundalk that afternoon with the Border Superintendent, Superintendent Buchanan, along with Chief Superintendent Nolan, Garda.”

 

6.1.24 “I would add that it appears from all of the evidence before me that neither the statement which Mr Mains did provide in 1989 – which refers to Harry Breen’s concerns about unnamed members of An Garda Síochána – nor the further specific information in relation to Owen Corrigan which I find as a fact Mr Mains did share with the senior officers, was communicated to An Garda Síochána. I find this extremely surprising. In the immediate aftermath of the killings of two of the most senior RUC officers to be murdered in the Troubles, the RUC was informed that one of them, only hours before is death, had expressed concerns about a Garda officer being in the pay of ‘Slab’ Murphy. It seems incomprehensible to me why the RUC did not immediately raise that matter with An Garda Síochána. The likeliest explanation that one can find on the evidence is Mr Mains’ account of what Sir John Hermon said to him in Newry on 21st March 1989, namely that Owen Corrigan had already been investigated and had been cleared. Yet both the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána have indicated to the Tribunal that there is no documentation to support the suggestion that such an investigation in relation to Detective Sergeant Corrigan was carried out. I am therefore compelled to the view that the information ought to have been, but was not, shared with the Gardaí, and no reasonable explanation for this failure can be discerned.”

It should also be pointed out that no RUC officer , called to give evidence at Smithwick, remembered Mains’s  alleged meeting with the Chief Constable.

 

 

 

 

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Police and the bomb makers

During the course of the “troubles”, between 150 and 200 people were killed by under car booby trap bombs. In the period 1987-1992, thirty two attacks took place in the Belfast area. These devices, used almost exclusively by PIRA , reflected their cowardice and the morals of one of their leaders, Old Grandpa McGuinness, that folksy murderer who is now the Deputy First Minister.

What will  shock readers is the attitude of the RUC and PSNI to these devices. Here is what police told me:

“The intelligence picture showed there was a high degree of expertise within the Provisional IRA vested in an extremely small number of people. When the police identified these individuals they were subject of  [sic] intensive operations to target and disrupt their activities”

Imagine that instead of murder, rape was the crime. Contemplate the outcry if police said; “intelligence shows us that there are several serial rapists in the Belfast area. These people are known to us and they are the subject of intensive operations to target and disrupt their activity.”

To my knowledge, no UCBT bomb maker was ever convicted . My view is that the RUC high command did not try too hard, on orders from above.

Why do we accept this as normal?