Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has thrown down the gauntlet to political rivals to “trawl through our accounts” to find any money from criminal gangs linked to the provisional IRA after Dáil claims that the funds may end up in the “political project”.
The Louth TD said he does not have any questions to answer over the allegation and two reports which show the provisional IRA still exists in some form in the North and has a legacy of criminality in the Republic, after the claims were raised by Government and Fianna Fáil TDs.
Giving his first public response to the allegations at a Sinn Féin 1916 exhibition walk-around in Swords, north Dublin, alongside local general election candidate Louise O Reilly, Mr Adams said: “I don’t have to give anybody any reassurances” as “we’re answerable to the electorate”.
He said Sinn Féin’s accounts are published — unlike those of some other Dáil parties, and claimed Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin — who raised the funding claims in the Dáil on Wednesday — “should look into his own heart and look into the mirror about where his own party brought the State” before discussing fundraising.
“We could get into all of all of this back and forth retaliation, it is the election, that’s what it’s all about,” he said, before adding: “You’re very free to get our accounts and get an accountant to forensically trawl through them.”
Mr Adams also rejected calls from Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to come clean on his and his own party’s past, after the Fine Gael TD told reporters during a joint event with Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan on Wednesday that the “point of ambiguity” over the issues is long gone.
Asked if he had anything he wished to clarify, Mr Adams said “that is a rather odd question” and suggested Ms Fitzgerald “should not fall into the trap of blaming republicans for the Government and State’s failure” to tackle crime.
Mr Adams gave a number of examples to underline the risks Sinn Féin representatives have taken to move away from dissidents and embrace an entirely peaceful process, stating the fact Frank McCabe junior is “blind in one eye” and he himself has been the subject of bomb threats shows the party has made sacrifices to ensure this development.
When it was put to him that other cases including the sexual abuse of Mairia Cahill and Paudie McGahon and the brutal 2005 murder of Paul Quinn in Armagh show there are a similar number of cases indicating the provisional IRA’s continuation, he said: “Anybody who’s guilty of a criminal offence needs to be accountable in the courts, whoever they are or whatever their background is. There is society and there are those who have engaged in criminal actions.”
Asked if this week’s controversy over claims two reports into the continuation of paramilitary groups shows Sinn Féin may ultimately need to change from a leader intrinsically linked to the Troubles era if it wants to move on from the period, Mr Adams said: “For as long as journalists like you want to keep asking these questions, you’re perfectly entitled to.”
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