Nobody believes Gerry Adams when he denies his past involvement in the IRA, the Taoiseach told the Dáil during sharp exchanges with the Sinn Féin leader.
Enda Kenny said Mr Adams “continues to live his lie” after a series of controversies in recent weeks focused on the Sinn Féin leader.
The row kicked off at leaders’ questions when Mr Adams — asking about top-up payments in the CRC — said “every single day brings a new revelation about the health service”.
Mr Kenny responded that he was “absolutely correct” in saying that “every day brings new revelations about new things”.
He added: “It doesn’t just apply to the health service, or issues about charities or anything else. I think you know what I’m talking about.”
Last week, Mr Adams came under fire for his response to the Smithwick tribunal’s report on Garda collusion in the killing of RUC officers who he accused of taking a “laissez faire” attitude to their personal security.
It follows controversies over his inaction while he knew of the allegations of rape and child abuse against his brother, Liam, and a documentary in which former IRA members linked him to the abduction and murder of Jean McConville.
Mr Adams told Mr Kenny he was asking “pertinent questions” about the CRC top-ups scandal but “then you go off on a meander that is beyond my comprehension”. He said if Mr Kenny wanted a debate about the past, he was prepared to have it with him any time or any place.
“We will examine the role of your party historically, we will examine the role of your party’s leaders historically, as well as my role and the role of anybody else in republicanism,” he said. “But don’t use that issue, Taoiseach, to dodge the questions because the fact is that this issue of top-up payments is bigger.”
Mr Kenny replied: “If you want a debate about the past, you should start by clarifying for everybody in this country whether or not you were a member of the IRA.”
He added: “Nobody believes you. Nobody believes you.”
Mr Kenny also took a swipe at Sinn Féin TD Padraig Mac Lochlainn, who he said was “beaten into submission” after the Donegal TD said last week that the IRA member who killed two RUC men “had a duty as much as Michael Collins and the IRA of the War of Independence”.
Turning to Kerry North TD Martin Ferris, Mr Kenny said: “Deputy Ferris was not authorised — or those in his cell group were not authorised and were off duty when they perpetrated one of the greatest crimes ever in this country.”
Mr Ferris was supported by his party in 2009 when he greeted two gang members on their release from Castlerea Prison following jail terms for the killing of Detective Jerry McCabe.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved