Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams says the sentencing hearing for Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy should proceed on schedule next month, even if a general election is called in the meantime.
Speaking to reporters in Limerick, Mr Adams was asked if the matter should be deferred in the event of an election being called, given the political aspect of the case.
Mr Adams replied: “No. No. I mean, even though I object, and I think I am entitled to, and I think I am right to object to citizens not being tried by their peers.
“Non-jury courts, whatever merit there may have been or may be for having them, should that be the court which hears a failure to make tax returns?
“So anyway, the courts have set their date. They should come back with whatever judgement they make, and we go on from there.
“Even though we are absolutely entitled, and every time it has come up in the Dáil, we have voted against the Offences the State Act, we are not going to interfere with the courts.
“The courts have to be independent from the executive.”
Asked if the case could impact negatively on Sinn Féin, Mr Adams replied. “No. People know where we stand on these issues. It’s very, very clear, everyone should pay taxes: if you’re a multinational; if you’re a farmer, whoever you are, you have to pay your taxes. If you don’t sort that out and you have to be brought before courts, then be tried by a court of your peers.
“Tom Murphy has strongly contested all of these charges, but if there is a sanction against him, then he has to put up with it and get on with it.”
Former Provisional IRA leader, Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, was convicted of tax evasion in December. He was found guilty of nine charges by the Special Criminal Court. He was prosecuted on foot of a Criminal Assets Bureau investigation, which during a search of an outhouse found bags with over €250,000 and £111,000 in cash, as well as documentation, diaries, and ledgers.
In 2006, Mr Adams denied Murphy was a criminal, describing him as a “good republican”.
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