Gerry Adams: 'I'm not soft on crime... I've been shot and my house bombed'
Sinn Fein 'has honoured all its pledges and commitments' in Northern Ireland, says party president
Gerry Adams has insisted his party is not soft on crime, saying he understands the issues as one of the "few people" in the Irish parliament who has been shot and had his house bombed.
In the past week two murders - one at a boxing weigh-in at a Dublin hotel - have been linked to criminal feuding.
Mr Adams hit out at the Irish government claiming it is to blame for the rise in gang crime.
Gerry Adams said: “We’re talking about organised crime which can be tackled and it’s not us that have been soft on crime. It is the government which has allowed the conditions to prevail where these gangs think that they are above the rule of law.
"They think they can go in and act with impunity and they should not be allowed to do that,” he added.
Speaking on Ocean FM in Sligo on Wednesday morning, the Sinn Fein president said concerns about his party’s planned abolition of the Special Criminal Court has been “hyped out of all proportion”, saying it was simply his opponents trying to score points off his party.
“I’m probably one of the very few people in the Oireachtas [the Irish Parliament] who has actually been shot," he said.
"I’m one of the very, very few people whose home has actually been bombed, I’m one of the very few people who even as we speak is under death threat, a viable death threat I’m told by the PSNI by some of the gangs who are involved in this behaviour so we won’t take lectures from people who cut garda numbers,” he added.
He also said Sinn Fein had "honoured all its pledges and commitments" in Northern Ireland.
Adams rejected the notion that the party had any "baggage" that was impacting on votes in the Republic.
He admitted he had received some “very unsavory” abuse about his past but insisted he was “privileged to know people who had given their very lives” during the Troubles.
"I’m like everybody else, like you and everybody listening. I’ve made mistakes in my life but I have devoted my life and my adult life. I’ve been in prison without trial incidentally because of my position.
"Yes I have been subjected to some abuse, very very unsavory and my family are very offended by some of the things said about me but that goes with the turf.
"I’ve been privileged to know people who have given their very lives, when there was a war and I don’t glamourise any of that.
"We are in a new dispensation.
"I played some part in bringing that about,” he added.
Mr Adams also hit back at Fianna Fáil for saying he was soft on crime.
He told the Irish Independent: "I think that's an insult.
"We have stood up to armed gangsters and crime of all types. I've stood with communities against them. Fianna Fáil is the government which closed Templemore [garda training college] which cut Garda figures.
"We appreciate very, very much the difficulties that people are suffering not least because of the actions of anti-social [behaviour] but particularly organised crime."
Caroline Crawford and Cormac McQuinn, Irish Independent