Thomas Murphy outside the court.
By Evan Short
Gerry Adams has rejected criticism from the leader of Fianna Fáil, this after the Sinn Féin President defended prominent republican Thomas Murphy, who was convicted of tax evasion last week.
Mr. Murphy, who lives at Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, County Louth, was found guilty in the non-jury Special Criminal Court by its three sitting judges.
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
Mr. Adams is a TD representing the Louth constituency.
The Special Criminal Court setting sparked Adams’ assertion that Murphy had been treated “unfairly.”
Mr. Adams also described the County Louth farmer, widely known by his nickname “Slab,” as a “good republican.”
However, Micheál Martin hit back at Mr. Adams’ comments.
“Gerry Adams’ statement is absolutely extraordinary and further emphasizes the fact that Sinn Féin is not fit for government,” Martin said.
“This response is completely consistent with how Sinn Féin leadership has behaved in a string of cases in recent times. They are more interested in protecting their own than respecting and enforcing the rule of law.
“Gerry Adams’ delayed response shines a light on how important Slab Murphy continues to be to the Sinn Féin project.”
Defending his comments Mr. Adams said: “Let me be very clear, Sinn Féin is strongly opposed to tax evasion. Everyone has a duty to pay their taxes and there can be no equivocation about this.”
He added: “There is no place for special courts or draconian legislation such as the Offences Against the State Act in a modern, democratic society.
“It is truly extraordinary that a case regarding a failure to complete tax returns would be heard at the Special Criminal Court. This is a breach of Tom Murphy’s rights under the Constitution and the European Court of Human Rights.
“Tom Murphy contests the verdict of the Special Criminal Court and maintains his innocence.”
Meanwhile, with only a handful of months to go before the general election, the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C tracking poll has Fine Gael’s support rising one point to 32 percent and its government partner Labour up two points to nine percent.
Fianna Fáil are down two points to 17 percent – exactly where they were in their disastrous 2011 general election – and Sinn Féin are up one point to 19 percent.
Independents and the smaller parties are down to 23 percent in the poll.