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Outrage as Gerry Adams says 'there is no gangland'

By Niall O'Donnell

Published 08/02/2016

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams has sparked outrage after claiming there is no such thing as "gangland" in the wake of the murder of David Byrne at a boxing weigh-in in Dublin.

The Sinn Fein leader also appeared to suggest that his party would consider placing jurors in witness protection-type schemes in the event of the abolition of the Republic's non-jury Special Criminal Court.

Mr Adams yesterday scored one of the most significant gaffes of the Irish general election campaign after he was unable to answer direct questions about Sinn Fein's plans to scrap the court.

Mr Adams is a vocal critic of the Special Criminal Court, which is due on Friday to sentence his friend, veteran republican Thomas 'Slab' Murphy, for tax fraud.

During a shambolic Press conference, the Louth TD flip-flopped on earlier suggestions that Sinn Fein would place jurors in witness protection-type schemes in the event of the court being scrapped.

"First of all, if I can just say this as a little matter which always irks me, there aren't any ganglands. There is lazy journalism which uses the word gangland as if these communities were lands that gangs inhabited," Mr Adams said.

"There are gangs and they are clearly ruthless, they're mercenary, they're greedy, they're very, very, very dangerous indeed."

Asked how Sinn Fein would protect witnesses and jurors if there was no such court, he said schemes are in place in other jurisdictions, such as Britain, to ensure safety.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny branded Sinn Fein's campaign to have the court abolished as "outrageous".

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