Gerry Adams stonewalls questions on allegations that his pal Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy ordered murders on behalf of IRA
SINN Féin leader Gerry Adams has stonewalled questions in response to allegations contained in a television documentary that his friend Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy order a number of murders on behalf of the IRA.
The controversy surrounding Murphy, who is facing up to five years in jail for tax fraud, overshadowed Sinn Féin’s General Election launch today.
Last night, the BBC ‘Spotlight’ programme aired an interview with a British soldier who said he will remember Murphy as a “mass murderer” who killed and ordered the killing of “many people”.
Colonel Richard Kemp, who worked in intelligence at the UK's cabinet office and who served several tours in the North, said soldiers who served in south Armagh were long familiar with Murphy and the IRA unit he led.
"We were briefed on the main IRA terrorists operating in south Armagh. Thomas Murphy was one of the main people on that list, in fact, as we understood it, he was the head of the Provisional IRA in south Armagh,” Col Kemp told the programme.
"We did not believe that he was necessarily the trigger man, the one who would actually position the bombs or pull the trigger of a sniper rifle, but we did know that he was the one that sent those people out to commit murder on behalf of the IRA.
I think Thomas Murphy will be remembered and I certainly will remember him for being a mass murderer, he killed and ordered the killing of many people,” he added.
Speaking at a press conference to mark the calling of the election today, Mr Adams said he did not see the programme, before stonewalling virtually all questions.
Asked whether he wanted to say anything about the allegations against Murphy, who Mr Adams described as a ‘good republican’, the Louth TD replied:
“Nothing at all.”
Pressed again on the issue, Mr Adams responded:
“I can only say nothing at all once, or twice if you want.”
When it was put to Mr Adams that the questions about Murphy are valid, he replied:
“I’m not disputing the validity of the questions. But so is the answer, a valid answer. He isn’t to my knowledge standing in the election, is he?”
When it was pointed out that he is facing a sentencing hearing at the Special Criminal Court for tax fraud, Mr Adams said:
“Thanks for that.”
Meanwhile, Mr Adams said the manner in which Taoiseach Enda Kenny dissolved the Dáil - without giving the Opposition the opportunity to make statements - is seen as being “pathetic”.
The Louth TD said he had intended to pay tribute to his own outgoing TDs Sandra McLellan and Michael Colreavy, neither of whom are standing.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said to me ‘It was a rather pathetic end to a rather pathetic term’. I wanted to say no more than to thank those outgoing TDs who are not standing again, and particularly and especially, Sandra McLellan and Michéal Colreavey from Sinn Féin,” Mr Adams told reporters.
“That’s the way the Taoiseach works. He genuflects in the Dáil chamber but doesn’t really leave himself open to the democratic processes.
“I have to say his decision to call this election was probably the best decision he’s made as a Taoiseach. And that the election day is essentially the Taoiseach’s day. And we are hopeful the people will make the right choices and vote for our party and the Right2Change candidates to elect a progressive Government.
Mr Adams said that the party currently has 14 TDs and that winning 15 or above in the election would be a good day for Sinn Féin.
“This is a choice whether you want a society that is fair and equal and has decent public services or whether you want more of the same that would seem under Fine Gael and Labour.”
He said he wants to be Taoiseach after the election but would not say whether he intends to lead Sinn Féin into another election beyond that.