A claim by Gerry Adams that republicans are not involved in fuel laundering and cross-border smuggling has been rubbished by Newry and Armagh MLA Danny Kennedy.
Mr Kennedy said Sunday’s denial by the Sinn Fein president – made at a Crossmaglen event commemorating the death of two IRA members killed when their bomb exploded prematurely in 1988 – was at odds with the experiences of people living in border areas.
“Gerry Adams might live in a fantasy world of republicanism but the rest of us don’t,” he said.
“Those of us who live and work in south Armagh know the real truth and the history of the republican movement and their involvement in murder and criminality.
“I don’t think his words will have any significance for law abiding people in the constituency.”
Mr Kennedy added: “I think it is an attempt to put a gloss on things and it is also probably cheap electioneering. We are in the election season and Adams is trying to draw a veil over the activities of his organisation but it simply won’t wash.”
Speaking at the annual commemoration of Brendan Burns and Brendan Moley, Mr Adams said the widespread belief that the provisional republican movement was involved in border crime was “demonisation”.
“In recent times a section of the media, the SDLP, the Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin and the Taoiseach Enda Kenny have engaged in a deliberate campaign of vilification and demonisation against Sinn Fein, and the communities of north Louth and south Armagh,” he said.
The Sinn Fein leader called on everyone to stand up to criminal gangs, and added: “No republican is involved in fuel laundering or the destruction of our environment through the dumping of toxic sludge.”