The law finally catches up with 'Slab' Murphy
Published 18/12/2015 | 02:30
Few people made money out of the Troubles like Thomas 'Slab' Murphy. Estimates of his fortune may vary - €50m is one figure quoted - but this "good friend" and "decent man", as he was described by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, got something of a comeuppance yesterday.
In a trial that lasted nine weeks - and a ruling that ran to 10 pages - he was nailed for tax evasion.
There is nothing ordinary about Murphy. The trial was held in the non-jury Special Criminal Court, a decision he fought all the way to the Supreme Court.
He stands on something of a pedestal in Republican circles. But true republicans recognise the need to pay their taxes.
There is an old saw that says that there's always somebody who is paid too much, and taxed too little - and it's always somebody else. But this time, the somebody else has been caught, and both CAB and the Revenue Inspectors deserve to be commended for getting their man.
Murphy's network of interests has generated millions through cattle dealing, fuel and property.
He had been targeted in repeated raids.
He is also believed to have added greatly to his wealth by using a warren of back lanes and byways for smuggling.
It was the prosecution's case that, although Murphy conducted significant dealings in cattle and land, he failed to make any returns to Revenue. His defence - that it was his brother, Patrick Murphy, who managed the cattle herd and farming activities on which tax was due, failed to wash - just like dirty diesel.
It was curious indeed to hear Mr Murphy's lawyer declare that it was Patrick Murphy who was 'the man in charge' who secreted cash and documents in his shed for the purposes of avoiding detection. The bizarre claim that the famously canny 'Slab' was the victim of identity theft by his own brother was risible. All the more so given that the same alleged "thief" sat beside his brother.
This time, the case against the famously elusive 'Slab' was set in stone.