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Gerry Adams: 'Slab' Murphy is still a good republican

The Sinn Féin TD believes Murphy has been treated “unfairly”.

Updated 7.25pm

11/12/2015 Storm Desmond Flood Relief Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

SINN FÉIN LEADER Gerry Adams has said he still considers Thomas ’Slab’ Murphy to be a “good republican” after he was found guilty of not paying income tax for nine years.

He added that he believes Murphy’s rights had been denied.

Murphy (66) had pleaded not guilty to nine charges alleging that he failed to furnish a return of his income, profits or gains or the source of his income, profits or gains to the Collector General or the Inspector of Taxes for the years 1996-97 to 2004.

Mr Justice Butler said that the court was satisfied that although Murphy conducted dealings in relation to cattle and land, and received farming grants from the Department of Agriculture, he failed to make any returns to Revenue.

Adams previously described Murphy as a “good republican”, and in a statement to TheJournal.ie this afternoon said he stands by this.

However, he said that “everyone has a duty to pay the taxes for which they are liable”.

The Sinn Féin TD added that he believes Murphy has been treated “unfairly”.

“All citizens have the right to be judged by a jury of their peers,” the statement read.

14/10/2015 Thomas Slab Murphy Court Cases Source: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

“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.”

Adams received criticism after he released a “vague and noncommittal” statement on Murphy’s conviction earlier this week. Renualeader Lucinda Creighton said it demonstrated that Sinn Féin “are not fit for government”.

Today Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin echoed this, adding that Adams’ delayed response “shines a light on how important Slab Murphy continues to be to the Sinn Fein 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,” he said.

“Decent republicans are tax compliant.”

Here is Adams’ statement, released today, in full.

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 whatsoeverThose 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.

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 theybeen 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.

Additional reporting by Hugh O’Connell. Originally published 3.43pm.

Read: Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy found guilty of not paying income tax for nine years >

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Nicky Ryan

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