Friday 30 September 2016

Former IRA leader Thomas 'Slab' Murphy to be sentenced for tax evasion today

Ed Carty

Published 26/02/2016 | 07:07

Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy: sentencing due today. Photo: Collins
Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy: sentencing due today. Photo: Collins

Former IRA leader Thomas "Slab" Murphy will be sentenced today for tax evasion.

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The 66-year-old bachelor farmer, who denied the charges, owes the Irish exchequer almost €190,000 for tax dodging from 1996-2004.

Murphy, from Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, on the border with Northern Ireland, could face five years in jail or fines of up to €100,000 for the offences.

He is being sentenced at the high security Special Criminal Court in Dublin as Ireland votes in a general election.

The decision of the three-judge non-jury court will demand more answers from Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams over his description of Murphy as a "good republican".

The farmer, who has no previous convictions and works as a yardsman for a business in Crossmaglen, south Armagh, was found guilty last December of nine counts of tax fraud.

He did not give evidence during the 32-day trial, held in a court which normally hears terrorism and organised crime trials.

In 1998, Murphy lost a £1 million libel action against the Sunday Times which described him as a senior IRA figure.

In one of only two occasions when he has spoken publicly, he claimed he had to sell a home in order to pay for some of the cost of the failed lawsuit.

Murphy's trial heard his total tax bill for the nine years was €38,519.56, and interest built up on those unpaid bills was €151,445.10, taking the final amount owed to €189,964.66.

He was charged with five counts under the Republic's Taxes Consolidation Act and four under the Finance Act that he knowingly and wilfully failed to make tax returns and did so without reasonable excuses.

The court found he did not furnish Ireland's Revenue authorities with a return of income, profits or gains or the sources of them over the period but received €100,000 in farm grants and paid out €300,000 to rent land.

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