Monday 24 October 2016

'Slab' has 18 months to dwell on Republic's justice

Published 27/02/2016 | 02:30

Thomas 'Slab' Murphy. Photo: Courtpix
Thomas 'Slab' Murphy. Photo: Courtpix

For four decades, it is believed that he was the Capo di tutti capi - the boss of bosses - at the hub of the IRA's €50m criminal empire in south Armagh.

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Yesterday Slab Murphy, 'good republican' and friend of Gerry Adams, the same man who once had the power of life and death over others - according to witnesses in a failed libel case he brought - found out what it was like to be at the receiving end of actual, as opposed to summary, justice.

It was fitting that the former IRA godfather was brought down for breaching tax laws, thus meeting the same fate as Al Capone.

It has been widely reported that Murphy bestrode an organised crime syndicate that flourished on both sides of the Border.

But according to himself, he worked as a "yardsman" earning £1,000 a month. The court was having none of it.

He will now find himself behind bars for 18 months.

The court had been told how black bags hidden in a hayshed on the Murphy farm, containing more than €250,000 and more than £100,000, were discovered.

The discovery made a travesty of the 'simple man who toils on the soil' image that Murphy sought to project

Yesterday, the Special Criminal Court - which Sinn Féin would prefer to have abolished - heard Murphy complain that he has been a victim of "serial, prejudicial and wholly inaccurate commentary and media coverage".

He also professed to being "very disappointed" at the verdict.

While he might complain and lament his bad luck and being caught cheating on his taxes, Mr Murphy has much to be thankful for.

Had he found himself before one of the 'kangaroo courts' so beloved of the IRA, he might not have enjoyed the privilege of living out his sentence.

Irish Independent

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