Gerry Adams on Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy’s tax evasion: Yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but…

After the guilty verdict in the trial of, “key supporter of the Sinn Féin peace strategy”, Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy on 9 charges of tax evasion, Gerry Adams, TD, declared that he had “no comment to make until the legal process has been concluded”.

Following criticism of that position the Sinn Féin president has, apparently, decided that some comment would be appropriate after all.

The has his initial further comment, and the Sinn Féin website has a further, further version.  From the report

[Gerry Adams] I am conscious that the legal process involving Tom Murphy has yet to be concluded, naturally full comment should be reserved until that process has ended.

However let me be clear, everyone has a duty to pay the taxes for which they are liable. There can be no equivocation on this whatsoever. Those who for any reason have been in default of tax returns need to rectify this and need to ensure that tax returns are in order and in accordance with the law.

I believe that Tom Murphy has been treated unfairly. All citizens have the right to be judged by a jury of their peers.

[Would that be the Ard Chomhairle or the Army Council? – Ed]  You might very well think that…

Mr Adams continued,

It is extraordinary that a case involving a failure to complete tax returns is heard before a non-jury court. Tom Murphy’s rights have been denied to him.

There have been many prominent public figures accused of tax irregularities including TDs. They have not been treated in the same fashion as Mr Murphy. Neither have they been labelled as criminals by those media outlets currently writing lurid headlines about Mr Murphy.

I have been asked if I consider Tom Murphy a good republican. The answer to that is yes.

Mr Murphy has vigorously contested the allegations against him.

[That’s you told! – Ed]  Yes, well…  “Tom Murphy” exercised every right available to him in his attempts to halt the trial.  That’s why there was a ten-year delay in the charges coming to court.  Ultimately the Irish Supreme Court decided that it was fair.  And there is very little ordinary about a Criminal Assets Bureau investigation.

The Belfast Telegraph notes the reaction to Gerry Adams’ latest comments on tax evasion “Tom Murphy”

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the comments show Sinn Fein is more concerned with protecting their own than “respecting and enforcing the rule of law”.

“Decent republicans are tax compliant,” Mr Martin said.

“This is yet another example of 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,” he added.

The Republic’s Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris said there would be public outrage if any other party leader was to back a convicted criminal.

“If any other party leader not only refused to condemn the actions of an individual convicted of a crime but sought to somehow defend their actions there would be an outcry,” Mr Harris told the Sunday Independent.

“When people evade tax it is the citizens of this State who actually lose out. For a man who constantly professes to being concerned about protecting the public services it seems bizarre that he thinks his buddy should not have to pay his taxes,” he added.

Renua leader Lucinda Creighton also lashed Gerry Adams’ support for Murphy, saying it “sends out a dangerously equivocal message”.

“The essence of being a good republican is respect for the law and paying taxes that sustain critical services. Mr Murphy has failed on all those counts,” she said.

Ed Moloney has an explanation for Gerry Adams’ unequivocal equivocation in this particular case.

‘Slab’ was the IRA’s Chief of Staff from 1997 until…..well probably now, given that we now have official confirmation that the Army Council still exists and continues to run the IRA.

He took over at a delicate stage in the peace process – the Adams leadership had just survived, by the skin of its teeth, a vigorous challenge from Michael McKevitt at a General Army Convention – and ‘Slab’ was chosen to replace Tyrone veteran Kevin McKenna, who had held the post since 1983.

He was selected to steady the ship and he did that with considerable aplomb.

‘Slab’ was the man in charge during the most politically tumultuous years of the peace process which saw a split in the IRA, the Good Friday Agreement and the embrace of hitherto despised heresies:  partition, the Stormont parliament, the  power-sharing government, the principle of consent, the gradual decommissioning of IRA weapons and, finally, the PSNI.

It is very possible that without a man in charge of the IRA who not only had led the organisation in South Armagh, the byword for fierce Republican resistance to the British, but who had himself a lengthy and impressive personal military track record, the Adams’ leadership might not have survived. Who could accuse Adams of a sellout when the leadership in South Armagh supported him?

Read the whole thing.

  • Thomas Barber

    Im sure Mick Fealty will be having words with you Chris, you’ve just labelled two people as IRA members without so much as a shred of evidence other than your own assumption.

    2500 murders carried out by the IRA is that right and not a mention of the fact that new evidence emerging almost everyday revealing the extent of British state collusion in 100s upon hundreds of murders.

    And we’re still back at the original question that you seem to be acutely avoiding. We all know the IRA murdered people just like the British army and the RUC, the UDA, the UVF, the INLA and the various other paramilitary groups that engaged in violence but you seem fixated on only the violence carried out by republicans.

    So once again. Were all the murders you mentioned above including those carried out by dissident republicans and British agents that you blamed on the PIRA carried out because of newspaper headlines or that they looked at some IRA person in a funny way ?

  • Robin Keogh

    Baaaaaaa !

  • Thomas Barber
  • babyface finlayson


    It was more specific than that as cited here,

    “Question 2 stated: “If you answer `Yes’ to paragraph (a) or (b) of question 1, have the defendants proved that such words were true in substance or in fact, that is to say: (a) that Thomas Murphy was a prominent member of the Provisional IRA, an unlawful organisation and an organisation associated in the public mind with unlawful violence, brutality and murder, (b) that Thomas Murphy planned murder and the bombing of property”. The jury answered yes to (a) and yes to (b).”

    Not a criminal case maybe but damning nonetheless.

    “Asked if he supported the IRA, he said: “Not really.”

  • barnshee

    In a convoluted way
    the ST claimed Slab was chief of staff of the IRA (and importer of weapons)

    Slab claimed defamation
    Slab lost so it would appear that he was unable to prove he was not chief of staff of the RA
    The RA murdered and bombed -wherewill that leave Slab?

  • chrisjones2

    No …the person making the accusations has to prove they are true.The Sunday Times did that. The jury agreed.

  • chrisjones2

    Again that is juts not true./ Slab challenged the DPPs certification for the SCC. His lawyers argued it on legal grounds . He lost

    When you get yourself appointed to the Supreme Court perhaps you can overturn it

  • chrisjones2

    ….there is no ‘due process right’. You have invented that. The ECHR has decided that there is no right to a Jury Trial. See above and look up the latest cases which are date 2013

  • chrisjones2

    He cant use the ‘off the head’ defence as its only applied to anyone who disagrees with Gerry or remembers him being involved in something that he couldn’t have been involved in as he was never in the IRA / Never there when anything happened/ never write that / never knew about the Hunger Strike deal etc etc

  • Anglo-Irish

    Can never quite get my head around why Adams denies being in the IRA.

    After all, it hasn’t done Martin any harm has it?

    If anything it has given him a certain amount of respect and hasn’t hindered his political career, so what’s the problem with Gerry?

    Unless of course he wasn’t?

    I find that hard to believe, and always assumed that he was, but don’t get why he sticks to the story.

  • Jollyraj

    There is also a subtle difference between invalidating the comparison and failing to understand the comparison. You think you’ve done the former, what’s actually happened is the latter.

  • Jollyraj

    “Everyone knows why he gives the answer he does. Everyone knows that given the consequences that his answer is reasonable and will never change”

    So…it’s ok to lie if the truth would certainly put you in jail?

  • Jack Stone

    The phrase due process of law first appeared in a statutory rendition of Magna Carta in A.D. 1354 during the reign of Edward III of England. It is short hand for the right to a fair trial. it doesn’t mean a jury trial.

    Clearly, there is a due process right covered in The European Convention on Human Rights . The ECHR demands clearly in Article 6 that Slab has the right to to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him. This is true at all points of a trial. Did Slab have the opportunity to examine the evidence used to place him in the Special Criminal Court?

    If Slab (or a designated representative or even a special advocate appointed by the court on his behalf) did not have the opportunity to examine that evidence then it could be a violation of his right to examine the witnesses against him at all points of the trial. The Court is quite skeptical of secret evidence (check the cases I cited above, some from 2015). The Irish courts based their decision to restrict his right to a jury trial on evidence not disclosed to Slab Murphy or his lawyers. Correct?

  • Jack Stone

    But that is not the evidence they used in this trial to remove Slab’s right to a jury trial. Anyway, what was the standard of proof for the trial?

  • Jack Stone

    Right the Sunday Times was not guilty, Slab was not judged guilty in a Court of Law.

  • chrisjones2

    The disinfectant power of light is truly amazing

    With all the fuss around Adams support for Slab Murphy – not least here – the big unanswered question is why he has been so vociferous in his support of a convicted tax dodging criminal? Why has Mary Lou been forced to support him and other members of SF been dragged into this in the run up to the election? Why have they been so focused on what is so clearly a stupid issue?

    Slowly the light shows why. Last night this

    suddenly popped up on the front page of the Irish TImes site. It then disappeared quite quickly but is still there on the website if you look. It was replaced on the front page by another angle on the same story and by a little piece on allegations about Slabs cross border underground oil pipe

    But still the import is clear. Journalists are being briefed – one assumes by SF and Garda sources – that Mr Murphy’s associates are now threatening return to war if he is sent to jail for his crimes. There also seems to be a threat to turn on SF who are alleged to have over promised the degree of protection on offer to South Armagh PIRA / Racketeers to run their many businesses unhindered by trivial matters like paying tax and VAT, not dumping mutagnic material in the water supply and having investigated their murders (or ‘housekeeping’ as some like to call it).

    And all this from an organisation Gerry alleges has gone away, dissolved, ceased to be, is a dead parrot

    Now lets be clear. The Judges of the SCC must stand above all this and deal with Murphys case on an absolutely fair and proportionate basis. He then has a legal right to appeal

    But as a separate issue, if Ireland is to be a state based on law then it cannot have attempts to subvert its courts by the threat of armed insurrection by a criminal gang for its own profits. That, in effect, is what has been tolerated for the last 20 years.

    So as we go into the election SF really has a choice. Does it support Ireland as modern European democracy founded on Laws and its constitution. Or does it want to continue the bad old ways of corruption or violence with shadowy criminal elements apparently exercising such control in the party beyond public view and on the ground in parts of Northern Ireland and the Republic

    There really can only be one answer on this. Despite my criticism at times I actually admire many in SF for leading their supporters down the democratic path. Having effectively lost the war (and I know they will rise to that) it cannot have been easy but they did it. On every level – morally, politically, economically, electorally – It was also the right thing to do, and they have been rewarded electorally. Good luck to them. Republicanism as a belief has the right to be represented politically and to fight its corner by democratic means

    But behind that they have singularly failed to address the abscess underneath. Thirty years into this process we might have expected this to all be past business. But as the spotlight has shown , the corruption still thrives underneath to such an extent that some along the border feel they have the right to even threaten it. What a sense of self -entitlement and immunity from the law! What a disconnection from reality

    For SF to throw away a lot of the progress they have made would be madness for them and for Ireland North and South . The big problem for the Party is, can Gerry really continue to lead them down the democratic path or are his feet stuck too deep in the bogs of Armagh and Louth? The last couple of days suggest that – a sense almost of panic and desperate efforts to stop the loss of control of events.

    And if he cannot take them forward, who will dare to say so? And on the doorstep how does the average decent Shinner gloss over this challenge to the very fabric of the state? All politics is local but just talking about water charges only goes so far. Robin has argued so strongly here that most Shinners are decent people. They probably are – but is this what they want in their state?

    Christmas will allow SF a pause but by January they need to have sorted this

  • babyface finlayson

    What happened to Eamon Collins after that trial may have had some bearing on the decision not to have a jury.
    As the burden was on the defendant I imagine the standard was quite high. Numerous witnesses were called including Gardai. The jury reached their decision fairly quickly I think.

  • barnshee

    Im afraid you miss the point
    Who in the DUP have been accused of being chief of staff of say the UVF ?
    Perhaps you would like to try again?

  • Jollyraj

    Can you see the difference, Gendjinn, between that and ordering people murdered? Perhaps not. T’would explain how some feel able to vote Sinn Fein, I suppose.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I stand corrected on the conviction matter, though it does re-empathize the fact that a jury would not be unprejudiced in this matter, especially given an attack on a jury member as a result of testifying against him.

  • Thomas Barber

    You have evidence Eamonn Collins was murdered as a result of him testifying against Slab Murphy ?

  • Kevin Breslin

    He was murdered soon after testifying, either Slab Murphy or friends of his killed Collins or that’s a very big unexplained coincidence. In my mind that does prove that there is a risk in testifying against Collins, the degree of that risk we may never know.

    I do know whoever killed Collins after the trial created the grounds for caution whether they were working on Murphy’s behalf or otherwise.

  • Thomas Barber

    Or the reality – Eamonn Collins was an PIRA member who turned informer against his former PIRA comrades from the Newry, South Armagh area even becoming a supergrass who was willing to give evidence in a British court against them until his wife convinced him to retract. RUC chief inspector, Eddie Graham described him as a “psychopath” His confession for 5 murder charges and numerous attempted murders was thrown out of court on the grounds that it was gained through the use of torture. On his release from prison he was warned to leave the 6 counties and never to return like lots of other supergrasses and informers still alive today who retracted or made public what they were doing. He ignored those warnings by returning to live in the Newry South Armagh area and once again continued to talk and make public his experience in the IRA. He sealed his own fate and his murder was barbaric but he had many more enemies than Slab Murphy and they had many more reasons to shut him up than Slab Murphy.

  • chrisjones2

    No it was pure coincidence., He gave evidence then 10 weeks later he was cut to pieces while out walking his dog. No connection

  • chrisjones2

    “He sealed his own fate ” ……….

    Housekeeping again, was it?

    And you dont seem ton think that if people reform they should give evidence?

  • Thomas Barber

    Oh I know people can reform its unionist types and hypocrites like you who believes they can cherry pick who can be classed as reformed. Just further down this thread you dismissed the claims of reformed Ex RUC officer John Weir because in your words he was a “convicted murderer” yet here you are defending the integrity of another self confessed multiple murderer because he suits your personal agenda.

  • Thomas Barber

    He moved back to Newry, South Armagh soon after giving evidence in the Murphy trial. Its much more likely those 40 comrades he got arrested and was willing to give evidence against from the Newry South Armagh area were more than a little worried that Eamonn Collins was threat to their well being. If someone like Collins, a self confessed multiple murderer, described as a “psychopath”by the RUC could be seen as a reliable witness then they most likely believed he was a dangerous threat.

  • Jack Stone

    Firstly, no, Eamon Collins was not a member of a jury which ruled against Slab Murphy. Eamon Collins was a supergrass who outed many IRA secrets and had a number of enemies. Was the murder proven to be connected to Slab Murphy? Eamon Collins was targeted by a number of “unknown republicans”. Eamon Collins also defied an IRA Exile order which he had previously agreed to. He was a tout and could have been killed by any number of people connected to Republican groups. He was an outspoken critic of the Real IRA who named names. There had been death threats against him for years before he testified against Slab. He wrote an expose about the Real IRA and pinned the killing of 18 soldiers at Warrenpoint in 1979 on it’s leader. To say Slab is the only suspect is lunacy. It easily could have been the Real IRA for what Collins wrote.

    Is it possible that the evidence used by the prosecution is weak, from a less than credible, deceased, or fabricated nature? I mean no one has seen the evidence because of “National Security”.

  • Honest Observer

    I wonder why you print such trash when you know very little about Mr Murphy.
    This man is an ordinary farmer who was accused of not putting in his tax returns. Its worthy of mentioning that also he has never been charged or convicted of any offense up until this case about failure to furnish tax returns.

  • Honest Observer

    Do you print stories from other media circles without knowing facts about the man? This is an ordinary farmer who has never been charged with any criminal offense up until this case about failure to furnish tax returns. This case should have been before the district court.

  • Jollyraj

    I don’t print anything.

  • Honest Observer

    When your taxes are paid it is NOT a crime.

  • Honest Observer

    So you didnt say this:

    I wonder how SF square this with the ‘working man’ whose votes they
    court. After all, the costs of tax avoidance, cattle smuggling, fuel
    laundering and all sorts that the disparate bandits and former leading
    gangsters ruling the roost in the border areas are getting rich off are
    passed on to the working class. Certainly, if Murphy and his ilk are
    getting rich off avoiding tax and whatever else, we are all paying for
    it. So, not ‘sticking it to the man’, at all. Rather, the very wealthy
    Mr Murphy is accused of ‘sticking it’ to the working man.

  • Jollyraj

    I’m sorry, I’m not quite sure what point you are trying to make?