The RUC men, both unarmed, died shortly afer crossing a border on their return from a meeting with with counterparts in An Garda Siochana at Dundalk Garda station. The Smithwick Report has concluded that on the balance of probability collusion between a Garda mole and the IRA led to the killings.
Breen and Buchanan were the two most high ranking police officers to have died during the North's conflict which produced over 3000 deaths. The term 'collusion' is normally reserved to describe aspects of the relationship between British state security forces and loyalist detah squads. One notable case was the solicitor Pat Finucnae who died after collusion between his UDA killers and senior members of the RUC.
Despite Smithwick concluding that there was an element of Garda collusion, the Garda Siochana paid a heavy price as a consequence of the Northern conflict. A number of garda lost their lives in shooting and gun attacks carried out by armed republivan groups. In 1975, for example, Garda Michael Reynolds was gunned down as he sought to pursue people in the immediate wake of an armed robbery.
|Funeral of Garda Michael Reynolds|