Saturday 3 December 2016

Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams says there should be no 'hanging' of Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy until after his sentencing

Niall O’Connor,Political Correspondent

Published 02/02/2016 | 13:27

Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, who was convicted of tax dodging. Photo: Court Collins
Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, who was convicted of tax dodging. Photo: Court Collins

SINN Féin leader Gerry Adams says there should be no “hanging” of Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy until after his sentencing at the Special Criminal Court.

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Mr Adams today said he is not concerned that the sentencing of Murphy later this month could damage his party’s election prospects.

The Louth TD’s association with the former IRA Chief is due to feature in a BBC ‘Spotlight’ documentary which is scheduled to air this evening.

Murphy was convicted of tax fraud last month in a decision that put huge pressure on Adams to distance himself from his friend.

But following the court’s decision, the Sinn Féin President issued a staunch defence of Murphy, whom he has consistently described as a ‘good republican’.

He also launched an extraordinary attack on the Special Criminal Court and said there is no place for such a court in this jurisdiction. He said Murphy was “treated unfairly”because he was not tried by a jury of his peers.

Mr Adams has pointed out that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has criticised the use of the juryless court system.

Speaking to the media outside Government Buildings today, Mr Adams today said his party is committed to abolishing the Special Criminal Court. But he was unable to say whether such a pledge will be contained in the Sinn Fein manifesto.

“Whether it’s in our manifesto or not is another issue. But it certainly is one of our key objectives. It runs against the whole thrust of the Good Friday Agreement and other agreements. But we will see. We haven’t closed on our manifesto yet,” Mr Adams said.

Asked, in the context of the BBC ‘Spotlight’ programme, whether he is concerned the issue of Murphy’s conviction will be reignited, Mr Adams replied:

“Well you obviously are ahead of the possy in reigniting it. No we are not concerned. We are not concerned, people are obviously very sensible on all of these matters.”

Mr Adams said he would not preempt the decision of the court when asked if he will stand by the use of the term ‘good republican’ in the event of Murphy being handed a jail sentence.

“Let’s wait until the judge has his say, let’s not go to the hanging until it’s time for it.”

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