Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Murphy 'at the heart of terror for years'

By David Young

Published 13/02/2016

Thomas 'Slab' Murphy has been a prominent figure in Irish republicanism for decades, and was alleged to have been a senior IRA commander.

The 66-year-old is one of three brothers, and his farm at Ballybinaby straddles the Louth/Armagh border.

In 1998 Murphy lost a libel action against The Sunday Times after investigative journalism by the late Liam Clarke claimed Murphy was a senior IRA commander who had directed the IRA's bombing campaign in Britain, as well as being involved in the importation of weapons from Colonel Gaddafi's Libya.

For the past 14 years Murphy has been under investigation for suspected tax fraud.

During raids on his farm hundreds of thousand of euro in cash were found by revenue investigators.

Amongst the wealth uncovered by officers was a UK and Irish property portfolio including office blocks, houses, hotels and pubs.

In December last year Murphy was found guilty by Dublin's Special Criminal Court of nine charges of tax evasion related to his cattle farming business.

He had denied all the charges, but the republican now faces up to five years in jail.

After Murphy's conviction Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams strongly defended him in a statement.

He claimed Murphy had been "treated unfairly" by the justice system and that his rights had been denied.

The Sinn Fein leader's defence of Murphy led to outrage among rival political figures in the Republic, who felt it was completely inappropriate for the leader of a political party to act as a character referee to a convicted tax fraudster.

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