Kenny challenges Adams on IRA past
Adams claims FG leader dodging question of inquiry into health service salary top-ups
No one believes SF leader’s denial about IRA membership, says Taoiseach Enda Kenny
The Taoiseach challenged the Sinn Féin leader to say if he was a member of the IRA during bitter Dáil exchanges.
Enda Kenny said that if Gerry Adams wanted to have a debate about the past, he should start by clarifying for everyone in the State whether he was a member of the IRA. “No one believes him,” said Mr Kenny.
Mr Adams had asked Mr Kenny to set up a public inquiry into the top-ups in the salaries of health executives, adding hardly a week went by without some revelations about the health services and the scandals involved.
“There is hardly a week goes past without some revelation of how corruption and the culture which underpins it has contaminated many sectors of this State,” he added.
Ruling out a public inquiry, Mr Kenny said he believed the instructions given by Minister for Health Dr James Reilly would be seen through by the HSE and, for its part, by the Public Accounts Committee in the discussions it had.
He expected “frank exchanges” when representatives of the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) appeared before the committee.
Mr Kenny said Mr Adams was absolutely correct to say every day brought new revelations about other things.
“It just does not apply to the health service or issues about charities or anything else.”
He added he thought Mr Adams knew what he was talking about.
Mr Adams said he had asked the Taoiseach a question that was absolutely pertinent to what was happening at this time and dealing with revelations that had scandalised citizens.
He accused Mr Kenny of engaging in “a meander which is beyond my comprehension’’. He added that if Mr Kenny wanted to have a debate about the past, or about any other issue, he was quite happy to do so.
“We can arrange that at any time, any place where you are prepared to have it with me,” he added. “And we will examine the role of your party, historically . . . we will examine the role of leaders of your party, historically, as well as my role and the role of anybody else involved in Irish republicanism.’’
Mr Adams said the Taoiseach should not use the issue to dodge the question relating to salary top-ups.
He added that the 1916 Proclamation made it very clear that citizens had the right to equality. “Including the right to life,” said Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. “Deputy Adams should note.” Mr Adams replied that the Minister for Justice should “not nauseate me’’.
When the Taoiseach then challenged Mr Adams to say if he had been a member of the IRA, the Sinn Féin leader repeated they should have a debate. “Deputy Adams continues to live his lie,” said Mr Kenny.
Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris called for a debate. “The Taoiseach should think about what his party has done,” he added.
Mr Kenny said: “Deputy Ferris was not authorised, or those in his cell were not authorised and were off duty, when they perpetrated one of the greatest crimes ever in this country.’’
The Taoiseach said that if Mr Adams’s logic was followed, and another independent inquiry held, it would still be under way in three or four years’ time. He added that Mr Adams should allow the opportunity for the HSE to follow through on the Minister’s instructions and engage with the agencies directly to see what the situation was.
The CRC, he said, had given brilliant service to 4,000 people and the diversion of some of the contributions was a matter currently being examined.