Adams hits back on 'smear tactics'
Published 15/02/2011 | 16:49
Gerry Adams has accused Fianna Fail of dirty smear tactics over demands for him to admit his alleged IRA past.
The Sinn Fein leader, who is contesting a Dail seat in Louth, has always insisted he was never a member of the organisation.
But his Fianna Fail counterpart Micheal Martin said the persistent denials had cast a shadow over Mr Adams' credibility.
"There is a fundamental problem for Gerry when he continues to deny his membership of the IRA," said Mr Martin.
"Because every time he talks in this debate during the election about honesty, about being up front and transparent, it jars very much with his own position about the past.
"Martin McGuinness doesn't have a problem admitting his membership in the past but I think there is a huge problem for Gerry Adams in a credibility sense."
Opinion polls show Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein are slogging it out with each other for third place in next week's general election.
Mr Martin went on the attack after Mr Adams brought up white collar crime and fraud in Ireland during a five-way televised party leaders' debate last night.
The Fianna Fail leader claimed Mr Adams and the North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness knew about plans for the infamous Northern Bank robbery during negotiations with the Irish and British governments.
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was "extremely upset" about the £26.4m heist in December 2004 and privately told close political friends he believed the Sinn Fein leaders knew about the plot during peace process talks.
"He mused openly to us that simultaneous to all of this, these guys knew about the Northern Bank robbery and that was Bertie Ahern's clear conviction at the time," Mr Martin said.
But Mr Adams dismissed the allegations as a down and dirty ploy to undermine his party's neck-and-neck position with Fianna Fail.
"This is a smear," the former West Belfast MP said.
"The fact is that this is not the type of smear negative campaigning which will inform people's judgment.
"It's quite obvious that Fianna Fail, the leadership anyway, want to get down into the gutter and get dirty."
Pearse Doherty, Sinn Fein's finance spokesman, was adamant people had made their minds up about Gerry Adams and the IRA a long time ago.
"Michael Martin is trying to use dirty politics to sideline the issues and we're not going to take lectures from Micheal Martin, who served in government for the last 14 years, who caused the economic collapse, who's inflicting massive suffering on people out there that are the working poor and those on social welfare."
Mr Doherty said Fianna Fail were resorting to a smear campaign because they could not justify pouring €29bn of taxpayers money into Anglo Irish Bank.
The latest opinion poll, in the Evening Herald, shows Sinn Fein on 11pc of the vote in Dublin with Fianna Fail taking 10pc support in the capital.
On 31pc, Labour topped the Millward Brown Lansdowne survey of Dublin constituencies, closely followed by Fine Gael on 29pc, with Independents and others on 16pc and the Green party trailing on 3pc.