Sunday Business Post

**So, is this like the offer you can't refuse?

IRA asks members to help in probe of RUC men's murders

15/08/04 00:00
By Barry O'Kelly

The IRA is privately urging a number of former volunteers to provide limited cooperation to an inquiry into alleged garda collusion in the murder of two RUC officers.

The government is to set up an inquiry in the early autumn into alleged collusion by gardai in the killings of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan near the border in March 1989.

The Sunday Business Post understands that senior IRA figures contacted members of the original unit, living close to the Louth-Armagh border, in recent weeks in connection with the inquiry.

At least one volunteer agreed to give the request serious consideration. Others were non-committal about the idea of supporting a tribunal into an operation that was once acclaimed within the republican movement.

A source close to the volunteers said: ``There was an informal approach, sounding us out about it, and then a request was made to attend a meeting.

``They were saying things [at the meeting] like, `we could be friends again' - the implication being that a `no' would not go down well.''

It was stressed to the volunteers that cooperation of only a limited nature would be given.

There is no suggestion that they would be exposed to a prosecution.

The sources said that no firm decision had been made to cooperate with the inquiry.

``They [senior figures in the republican movement] wanted to have the cooperation available,'' a source said.

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