Saturday 10 December 2016

Leo Varadkar says Sinn Féin will always be associated with murders and bodies buried in bogs

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

Published 24/02/2016 | 17:53

Health Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: Damien Eagers
Health Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: Damien Eagers

HEALTH Minister Leo Varadkar has described former IRA leader Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy as a “thug” and a “gangster” and said Sinn Féin will always be associated with murders and bodies buried in bogs.

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Mr Varadkar made the charges during a heated debate with Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald on ‘Newstalk’ today.

Under questioning from broadcaster Pat Kenny, Ms McDonald claimed that all political parties  “has their past and has their legacy.”

Mr Varadkar replied: “Oh come off it, where’s my party’s past or legacy of people who were murdered, bodies buried in bogs, or people still living today who were maimed, who are still carrying the scars and burns?”

THe angry exchanges between the pair continued as Ms McDonald, a TD for Dublin Central, defended her party leader Gerry Adams.

“A fair assessment of Gerry Adams. A fair and objective assessment of Gerry Adams would recognise absolutely the fact of his involvement in the Peace Process, the very considerable risks he took, including injury to himself, his own safety and that of his family,” she said.

Mr Varadkar accused Sinn Féin of trying to take full credit for the Peace Process - despite the fact the party is associated with murders -  prompting an angry response from Ms McDonald.

“To hear Sinn Fein claiming credit for peace because they stopped killing people, it is just unbelievable. It’s like one of the crime bosses now giving up crime and giving up credit for the fact that the murder rate has gone down,” he said.

Mc McDonald replied: “Don’t be so cheap to be comparing me or my colleagues to gangsters.”

Mr Varadkar then highlighted Sinn Féin’s relationship with Thomas ‘SLab’ Murphy, who faces up to five years in prison on Saturday for tax offences.

Some of your colleagues are gangsters  , do you not think ‘Slab’ murphy is a gangster?

Do you not agree that ‘Slab’ Murphy is a thug and a gangster?

Ms McDonald responded: “‘Slab’ Murphy needs to fix his tax affairs and settle his affairs with revenue.”

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