Friday 19 January 2018

'Slab' Murphy and gang believed they were immune from prosecution

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

THE GANG led by ex IRA godfather Slab Murphy believed they could operate outside the law and were immune from prosecution, it emerged today.

The smuggling operation under Murphy’s control was convinced they were untouchable. The group which operates on both sides of the border was under the impression it could not be touched by the gardai or PSNI as a result of its support for the Good Friday Agreement. They believed they "would be left alone as part of the peace process," it was reported today.

Citing a source who has "had official dealings with them", the 'Irish Times' said the gang now feel "betrayed" following the targeting of their criminal activities.

"Murphy and a group of about a dozen close associates believe the 'architects of the peace process' assured them they would not be targeted in the wake of the 1997 IRA ceasefire, according to the source," the report said.

It comes as Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald was the latest to describe ex Provo godfather Murphy as a “good republican.” She used the precise form of words that Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams used to describe the elderly smuggling mastermind.

'Slab' Murphy is facing a potential prison term of up to five years after he was convicted of tax fraud at the non-jury Special Criminal Court  on Friday.

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB ) are also expected to serve Murphy with a significant tax bill.

Murphy (66) from Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, had denied the nine charges alleging that he failed to furnish a return of his income, profits or gains or the source of his income, profits or gains to the Collector General or the Inspector of Taxes for the years 1996/97 to 2004.

He had previously been named in a libel action (that he lost) as a senior IRA commander and was described as "a good republican" by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in 2006 following the Criminal Assets Bureau raid on his cross border farm complex.

Mr Murphy showed no emotion as Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding judge of the three-judge court, delivered its 10-page ruling.

Judge Butler said the court was "satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that in each of the individual counts on the indictment the accused is guilty".

Meanwhile, Mary Lou McDonald rowed in behind party leader Gerry Adams whose incredible support for Murphy has plunged the party into crisis.

Adams came out publicly on a number of occasions yesterday in a desperate bid to put an end to the controversy he created.

However, the Louth TD floundered, bizarrely telling his local LMFM station he is under no obligation to "swallow" what he described as "baggage" of the State.

He then openly questioned the decision by DPP Claire Loftus to refer the Murphy case to the Special Criminal Court, insisting that every citizen should be tried in front a of jury.

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