Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein boss Adams in blistering attack on gangs holding border communities to ransom

By Chris Kilpatrick

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has launched a scathing attack on border crime gangs he accused of besmirching the republican cause and holding communities to ransom.

Mr Adams said the vast majority of people in south Armagh backed the peace process and urged police on both sides of the border to do more to tackle what he said was a growing problem.

He was speaking at an annual commemoration for IRA men Brendan Burns and Brendan Moley, who were killed when the bomb they were transporting went off prematurely in 1988.

Mr Adams was speaking after a booby-trap bomb attack last week which left Francis McCabe jnr with serious facial injuries.

"Those who placed the bomb didn't care who they killed. Their intention was to terrorise and coerce those in south Armagh who have been taking a stand against the criminal gangs," he said.

"The vast majority of people in south Armagh support Sinn Fein. An even greater number support the peace process. There is no support for criminality or for those who besmirch the republican cause."

Mr McCabe's father, Frank, said his son was now at home and would be meeting specialists soon.

"It's to do with the injuries behind his eye and at that point they should know if they can save the eye or not, so we'd be more hopeful that we were initially," he said.

Mr Adams urged those in border communities to stand up to the gangs.

He also accused the media a number of political rivals of the "vilification" of republicans.

He denied republicans were involved in criminality including fuel laundering, smuggling or the theft of farm equipment or animals.

"We need to ensure that the PSNI do the job they're paid to do," he added.

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