Shatter criticises Adams’ backing of ‘Slab’ Murphy

No one should be fooled by ‘false theatrical concern’ for rule of law, ex-justice minister says

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter has strongly criticised Gerry Adams’ backing of Thomas Slab Murphy. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter has strongly criticised Gerry Adams’ backing of Thomas Slab Murphy. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times

 

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter has strongly criticised Gerry Adams’ backing of Thomas Slab Murphy claiming nobody should be fooled by the Sinn Fein leader’s “theatrical concern”.

Mr Adams has said Mr Murphy has been treated “unfairly” following his conviction by the non-jury Special Criminal Court.

In a statement on social media Mr Shatter said it was clear Mr Adams wanted to abolish the Special Criminal Court.

He said: “A Sinn Féin led government supported by Independents would abolish the court.

Gerry Adams comment that ‘all citizens have the right to be judged by a jury of their peers’ removes any doubt about that.

“A Sinn Fein led government would give impunity to terrorists and criminal gangs by facilitating jury intimidation .

“No one should be fooled by Sinn Fein’s false theatrical concern expressed for the rule of law during the lifetime of the current Dail. It was nothing more than cynical attention seeking and headline grabbing.”

Mr Shatter said Mr Adams should publicly confirm he wants to abolish the Special Criminal Court.

This would place “all citizens called to jury service and their family members at risk when required to deliver a verdict in terrorist or gangland related prosecutions”.

“Another good reason for ensuring that Sinn Fein is not elected to government in 2016,” he said.

Murphy (66), Hackballscross was found guilty by the three-judge-court, of failing to furnish tax returns for nearly a decade from 1996.

Mr Adams said the case was a breach of Tom Murphy’s rights under the Constitution and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

He said: “As I have already remarked there was nothing ordinary or routine about the trial and conviction of Tom Murphy who was denied the right to be tried before a jury of his peers and this raises serious concerns.

“Tom Murphy contests the verdict of the Special Criminal Court and maintains his innocence.

“We have seen many prominent figures, including TDs, accused of tax irregularities. Unlike Tom Murphy, they will not be denied their constitutional and civil rights.”

Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin had earlier described Mr Adams’ comments that Mr Murphy was a good republican and had been treated unfairly as “absolutely extraordinary and further emphasises the fact that Sinn Féin is not fit for Government”.

Mr Martin said the statement was completely consistent with how the Sinn Féin leadership had 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.

“It is incredible that Adams would concentrate on the unfairness of this case when it took the Criminal Assets Bureau to carry out this investigation in the first place. CAB does not normally investigate routine non-payment of tax.”

Mr Martin said “decent republicans are tax compliant” and this was another example of Mr Adams “ not facing up to the paramilitary criminality that is ongoing in parts of the North and border counties.

“His comments, when read alongside the recent independent report into paramilitary activity in the North, provide a chilling insight into how Mr Adams and his organisation do their business”.