Sunday 25 September 2016

McDonald says Adams remarks on gangland were 'misunderstood'

John Downing and Deirdre Reynolds

Published 09/02/2016 | 02:30

Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Collins
Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Collins

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has claimed "confusion" led to Gerry Adams's comments that there were "no ganglands" being misunderstood.

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Ms McDonald was commenting after remarks by the party leader in reaction to the gangland murder in Dublin last Friday.

The Sinn Féin leader said he did not believe that "ganglands" existed and he was also extremely vague about how juries and witnesses would be protected if the non-jury Special Criminal Court was abolished.

"Confusions arise. But I'm happy - and he is too - to set the record straight," Ms McDonald told reporters.

However, Mr Adams was far from happy to clarify his remarks when quizzed on the campaign trial later.

Asked to respond to Taoiseach Enda Kenny's statement that 'gangland' does exist, Mr Adams ignored the question, instead speaking in general terms about the Regency Hotel attack.

"Well, I've already responded ... in terms of the awful brutality of what happened in the Regency Hotel, that the people involved in that were acting above and beyond the law. They need to be put behind bars.

"There's also a huge issue, if I may say so, around the cuts that the Government have brought in, in terms of 140 garda stations being closed and the thousands of gardaí numbers which have been cut. So we want to repair that, we want to replace that, and I firmly believe that this organised crime can be tackled...," he said.

Asked again if he was referring to gangland crime, Mr Adams responded: "I firmly believe that organised crime - and criminality of any kind - can be tackled, and it's the government's responsibility to do it.

"I heard a claim earlier on that a group styling itself as the Continuity IRA had claimed responsibility for that shooting.

"It's also worth noting that I and other Sinn Féin representatives are under viable death threats from the same group, so what we need to do is to tackle it, is to get these people behind bars and to ensure that the government gives an Garda Siochana all the resources they require."

Ms McDonald, whose base is close to the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra where the shootings took place, said she unreservedly condemned the "action of gangsters and thugs".

She said gardaí must get the necessary resources to apprehend these people and ensure that they are locked away.

"But we mustn't fall into the trap of describing an area as 'gangland', or conceding for a second that any of our communities belong to them," Ms McDonald said, adding that was the point Mr Adams was trying to make.

Irish Independent

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