SINN Fein's Meath by-election candidate Joe Reilly has backed up the party line that the IRA murder of Belfast mother Jean McConville in 1972 was not a crime, writes Gene McKenna.
"It was wrong but it was not a crime," said Cllr Reilly yesterday, echoing the controversial comments of Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin.
He also said if it emerged there was IRA involvement in the big Belfast bank robbery he would be "morally and politically shattered". He added: "But I don't accept they have lied to us", adding that if he was proved wrong on this it would be "a very, very serious thing for me" and would have "serious political consequences" for him.
He also said that, to his knowledge, no Republican had been jailed for rugs offences and none of them had been involved in drugs trafficking or cross-border drink or drugs smuggling. "Portlaoise was a jail which held Republicans for 10 years and, in its time, it had 3,000 to 4,000 people, maybe 5,000, there," he added. "Check with the Department of Justice how many of those people were ever charged, convicted or sentenced for involvement in drugs."