| 8.5°C Dublin

Minister: I don't believe Adams over IRA killing

Flanagan hits back at SF president's claim on farmer's murder


Information: Gerry Adams Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Information: Gerry Adams Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Information: Gerry Adams Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said he does not believe Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams's claim that he has no information about the horrific IRA murder and torture of innocent farmer Tom Oliver.

Mr Adams has continually claimed not to have any knowledge of the brutal Provisional IRA murder of Mr Oliver despite close links between his party and the republican terrorist organisation.

Last week, journalist Ed Moloney described how the Sinn Fein press office in Belfast organised for him to meet provisional IRA terrorists involved in Mr Oliver's murder.

In an interview with the Sunday Independent today, Mr Flanagan said he "finds it hard to believe" Mr Adams does not have any information on the recently reopened murder investigation.

"It is clear there was IRA involvement in the horrific killing of Tom Oliver. Gerry Adams is president of Sinn Fein, he knows everything about Sinn Fein. He knows much from the IRA," Mr Flanagan said.

"There is evidence to suggest the Sinn Fein headquarters in Belfast knew much of the circumstances of the brutal killing of Tom Oliver. I find it hard to believe Gerry Adams doesn't know anything about it.

"I call on Gerry Adams to make known to the authorities what he knows about the abduction, torture and murder of an innocent, decent farmer in Co Louth," he added.

Mr Flanagan said Mr Oliver's death in 1991 was "one of the most heinous, brutal murders" of the Troubles and insisted there would be no amnesty for those responsible for the murder.

Mr Adams recently said imprisoning those involved in the murder would be "totally and absolutely counterproductive". He was supported in comments, which outraged the Oliver family, by younger Sinn Fein TDs such as Mary Lou McDonald and Eoin O Broin. Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin said he was disappointed to see newer Sinn Fein TDs being "dragged out" to defend Mr Adams.

"The new generation is simply a cut of the same cloth as the old," Mr Howlin told the Sunday Independent.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

"They are not a normal party no matter what they say. They are still a party that is controlled by a hidden executive in the North that used to be the old Army Council and still exerts pressure on the party," he added.

Mr Howlin also said he will use his opening address at the Labour Party's annual think-in at the Clanard Court Hotel in Kildare tomorrow to urge Sinn Fein to take their seats in Westminster to vote against a hard Brexit.

Mr Howlin said he understood Sinn Fein's abstentionist policy but on this occasion he believes it is important they vote against the British Government's Brexit plans.

"I ask them on this one occasion to put the interest of the county ahead of any other interests and take their seats and vote," he said.