‘Slab’ Murphy a good republican despite jailing - Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin leader backs alleged key IRA figure after sentencing to 18 months on tax offences

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has insisted Thomas "Slab" Murphy is a good republican, despite his being sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax evasion.

Mr Adams said the party was opposed to the Special Criminal Court and would not like to see anyone tried before it.

The Louth TD said: "The Fine Gael party were guilty of not making tax returns. I didn't hear any questions of Michael Noonan at the time.

"David Drumm is due back. I would not like to see him tried by a non-jury court."


Tax offences

Murphy, who is alleged to have been one of the most powerful figures in the Provisional IRA, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for tax offences.

Mr Adams said he stands by that position, but has no plans to visit him in prison.

He also declined to comment on members of the media photographing Mr Murphy voting in the general election on Friday.

Mr Adams said he did not know whether his link to Mr Murphy or the party's position on the Special Criminal Court had damaged Sinn Féin in the election.

He said: “One thing that did damage the campaign was the unrelenting negativity, which is enough to knock you back one or two points - which makes a difference in terms of getting people across the line in some constituencies.

“We will persevere and prevail.”