Friday 28 October 2016

'The amazing wouldn’t have happened without Thomas 'Slab' Murphy' - Politicians break silence to defend tax dodger

Niall O’Connor and Kevin Doyle

Published 21/12/2015 | 14:52

Thomas Murphy. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Thomas Murphy. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A SINN Féin politician has today claimed that former IRA chief Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy does not pose a threat to anybody.

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Waterford senator David Cullinane, the first member of the party to break his silence on the controversy, defended Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams's staunch attack on the special criminal court.

Speaking to broadcaster Billy McCarthy on WLR radio today, Mr Cullinane insisted that every citizen of the State deserves “due process” and that involves being tried in front of a jury.

“I would not condone anybody that does not pay they taxes, everybody should be tax compliant. The point here is that there has been many politicians… and many former politicians and many people in the world of business and so on who have not been over the years, fully tax compliant,” he told the programme.

“And all of those individuals have been treated differently. All of those individuals have been subject to a trial where there is a jury, subject to a trial held by their peers. That’s the way these things should be dealt with,” he added.

But when pressed by the presenter whether he supports Mr Adams’s description of Murphy as a “good republican”, Mr Cullinane refused to do so.

“I don't know Thomas Murphy. I don’t know the man from Adam. I’ve never met the man. So how can I describe him as any word?”

Despite saying that he does not know Murphy, who was last week found guilty on nine counts of tax fraud, Mr Cullinane said he does believe he poses a threat.

“I don’t believe Thomas Murphy is a threat to anybody.”

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness has also backed his party leader’s claim that Tomas ‘Slab’ Murphy is “a good republican”.

And Mr McGuinness has said that “the amazing” peace process in Northern Ireland would not have happened without Murphy.

He accused other politicians of hypocrisy and alleged the outrage over Mr Adams’ defence of a man who has been convicted of not paying tax for nine years relates to the upcoming election.

“The amazing wouldn’t have happened without the work of Tom Murphy. We need to understand that. Tom Murphy has found himself before a court on revenue matters.

“There have been TDs who have found themselves before court on revenue matters, there have been business people before court on revenue matters but none of them are being described as criminals,” Mr McGuinness said.

He also backed Gerry Adams in his attack on the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

Mr Adams’ has alleged that it was unfair for Murphy to be tried in a court without a jury.

However, the North’s First Minister Peter Robinson said it would be “sheer madness” if Murphy had been tried in front of a jury, rather than the Special Criminal Court.

“I will resist any temptation to make reference to Al Capone and the style of his conviction. It is essential to say nobody is above the law and everyone is answerable to the courts,” Mr Robinson said.

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