Saturday 21 October 2017

Jailing IRA murderers of innocent farmer would be 'totally and absolutely counterproductive' - Adams

Gerry Adams (left) and Tom Oliver (right)
Gerry Adams (left) and Tom Oliver (right)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said sending the IRA murderers of an innocent farmer to prison would be 'totally and absolutely counterproductive'.

In a controversial radio interview Mr Adams responded to calls for him to intervene in the investigation into the 1991 murder of Co Louth farmer Tom Oliver.

Deputy Gerry Adams
Deputy Gerry Adams

The politician said filling the Irish prisons with IRA killers would serve no purpose adding that it wouldn't 'help the process'.

Last week Independent.ie revealed that gardaí had reignited their investigation into the murder of Mr Oliver.

The sheep farmer was abducted from his home in Riverstown, Co Louth on July 19, 1991 before being tortured and murdered by the IRA.

His body was discovered less than 24 hours later in Belleek, South Armagh. He had been shot in the head.

The IRA issued a statement shortly after in which they said that Mr Oliver was shot because he was a Garda informer, but this claim was refuted by family, friends and the Gardai.

A garda review was launched into the case some three months ago by officers in Ardee station under the direction of Superintendent Fergus Treanor.

Tom Oliver
Tom Oliver

And a fresh investigation was commenced after this review uncovered a "number of new lines of inquiry".

This new breakthrough has led to calls for Gerry Adams to help with the investigation.

However, speaking 'The Michael Reade Show’ on LMFM radio show yesterday, the Co Louth TD dismissed this.

Mr Adams said “filling the prisons” with IRA killers would serve no purpose.

“I don’t think it would assist the wider process that all of us are engaged in,” he said.

Asked on whether he believed Mr Oliver was an informer, the Sinn Féin leader replied: “It’s not my responsibility to investigate any of these matters. That’s a matter for An Garda Síochána.”

Pressed on whether he would like to see the killers brought to justice, Mr Adams said: “I would have a very strong position, while defending the right of the family to prosecutions … I think it [jailing his killers] would be totally and absolutely counterproductive.”

He also described the attack on Mr Oliver as a “politically motivated killing”.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Irish Independent the comments are “absolutely extraordinary and quite frankly bizarre”. He said Mr Adams remains “primarily an apologist” for the IRA.

“They actually illustrate a lack of moral compass, as Tom Oliver was brutally murdered in cold blood. Those who actually murdered him should, of course, be brought to justice,” he told the newspaper.

Witnesses can contact Ardee Garda Station 041 6871130, The Garda Confidential Line 1 800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News