Thursday 22 February 2018

Adams launches astonishing attack on DPP Loftus

Claire Loftus
Claire Loftus
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams' desperate bid to pull his party out of a crisis has backfired spectacularly after he warned that he will not "swallow" what he described as the "baggage" of the State.

Mr Adams's credibility remains in tatters as he floundered during several media interviews yesterday, and his party continues to reel from his decision to express unwavering support for former IRA chief and tax evader Thomas 'Slab' Murphy.

But in an extraordinary move, Mr Adams cast a slur on the reputation of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), which has always maintained the respect of all political leaders.

The Sinn Féin president said he believes Claire Loftus was wrong to refer the case of the so-called "good republican" Murphy to the Special Criminal Court.

But during a bizarre interview on his local radio station LMFM, Mr Adams claimed that, as Sinn Féin leader, he has no obligation to "swallow" the "baggage" of the State.

"Do I have to swallow the entire baggage of a State which is dependent upon draconian legislation, the Offences Against the State Act, or the Special Criminal Court? Of course I don't," he said.

He also swooped, yet again, to the defence of Murphy, saying he had no regrets about describing him as a "good republican". Asked what he meant by his statement, Mr Adams replied: "Well, essentially, it means he is a good republican. If, as he has done, Thomas Murphy vigorously contested these charges then, in my view, he deserves to be arbitrated on by a jury of his peers."

Mr Adams also launched another attack on Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and former Justice Minister Alan Shatter, saying: "I don't take him seriously."

Last night, Mr Shatter told the Irish Independent that he believes Mr Adams is trying to deflect from the "bind he is caught up in" after rushing to the defence of Murphy.

"Sinn Féin have done enormous damage to politics and to Dáil Éireann over the past five years by turning the Dáil chamber on occasion into a kangaroo court," Mr Shatter said.

"They now want to undermine the administration of justice and place the lives of jurors and their families at risk by abolishing the Special Criminal Court. His advocacy of jury trials for all has no credibility when examined against the conduct of members of Sinn Féin and PIRA. For the families of the disappeared it must be truly nauseating."

Also speaking yesterday, Waterford Sinn Féin senator David Cullinane claimed Murphy does not pose a threat to anybody.

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

When pressed whether he supports Mr Adams's description of Murphy as a "good republican", Mr Cullinane refused to do so, saying: "I don't know Thomas Murphy. I've never met the man."

Irish Independent

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