Northern Ireland

Ian Sproule: Brother seeks investigation into collusion claims

Ian Sproule Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Ian Sproule was 24 when he was shot by the IRA in 1991

The brother of an alleged Garda-IRA collusion murder victim is pressing the Irish Government for an independent investigation into his death.

Ian Sproule was shot dead outside his family home in Castlederg in 1991 by the IRA.

They claimed the 24-year-old was a member of the UVF, an allegation rejected by his family.

The IRA tried to justify the attack by showing a Garda intelligence file to a Londonderry newspaper.

Last week, Mr Sproule's brother John met the Tánaiste Simon Coveney to discuss claims of Garda collusion with the killers.

Image copyright Ken Funston
Image caption Mr Sproule was accompanied by Advocacy Manager with the South East Fermanagh Foundation, Ken Funston, and DUP MEP Diane Dodds

Mr Sproule was accompanied by DUP MEP Diane Dodds and advocacy manager with the South East Fermanagh Foundation, Ken Funston.

However, he told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster on Monday that the meeting left him deeply unhappy.

"No we weren't happy, to start off with, we were writing letters to the Irish government since 2013.

"We only got a meeting last Thursday," said Mr Sproule.

Garda inquiry

In 2012 it emerged at the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin that the former Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy had carried out an inquiry into claims of collusion in County Donegal.

The tribunal heard that the Garda investigation centred on how the IRA had received a 1990 Garda security circular, which outlined details of two men from Northern Ireland - one of whom was Ian Sproule - who were suspected of planting devices in Donegal in the late 1980s.

The tribunal concluded that Irish police officers colluded in the IRA murders of two senior RUC officers in 1989.

Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were shot dead in an ambush as they crossed the border into Northern Ireland after a meeting in Dundalk Garda station.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Ch Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan were murdered by an IRA gang in 1989

"Questions to answer"

Mr Sproule said: "I was shocked to find out about the investigation into my brother's murder held by the Garda.

"The Garda were never under caution when they were under interview, so to me it wasn't a serious investigation into a very serious matter.

"We need to see the Conroy report in full.

"If they have nothing to hide, why are the Irish government not going to show this report?

"Ian was an innocent young man and the Irish state have questions to answer and they must answer them."

Mr Sproule claimed that no timeline was put in place, but claimed Mr Coveney agreed during their meeting that this "had been going on too long".

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said that Mr Coveney had reaffirmed the Irish Government's condemnation of the murder of Mr Sproule.

The spokesperson added: "Officials of the Department of Justice and Equality confirmed in the meeting that Garda authorities remain open to co-operate with any further criminal investigation or inquest into Mr Sproule's death that may take place in Northern Ireland.

"The tánaiste confirmed that the relevant Departments would remain in contact with the Sproule family, as they continue to seek the justice and truth which they are entitled to."