Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has been slammed after claiming Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy” had been treated “unfairly” and is a “good republican”.
Murphy (66), an alleged former IRA chief of staff, was earlier this week convicted on nine charges of tax evasion after a 32-day trial in Dublin.
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin said Mr Adams’ defence of Murphy showed that Sinn Fein are “not fit for government”.
Deputy Martin commented, “Gerry Adams’ statement is absolutely extraordinary and further emphasises the fact that Sinn Féin is not fit for Government. This response is completely consistent with how Sinn Féin leadership has behaved in a string of cases in recent times. They are more interested in protecting their own than respecting and enforcing the rule of law.
“Gerry Adams’ delayed response shines a light on how important Slab Murphy continues to be to the Sinn Fein project.
“It is incredible that Adams would concentrate on the unfairness of this case when it took the Criminal Assets Bureau to carry out this investigation in the first place. CAB does not normally investigate routine non-payment of tax.
“Decent republicans are tax compliant.
“This is yet another example of Adams not facing up to the paramilitary criminality that is ongoing in parts of the North and border counties.
“His comments, when read alongside the recent independent report into paramilitary activity in the North, provide a chilling insight into how Mr Adams and his organisation do their business”.
During Murphy’s trial the three judges were told how he had significant dealings in cattle and land and received farming grants, but failed to submit tax returns for nine years.
The prosecution was brought after an investigation by the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
Murphy, who lives at Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, County Louth, on a farm that straddles the border with Northern Ireland, had denied the charges.
He was remanded on continuing bail until February when he will be sentenced.