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Tanaiste joins in condemnation of Adams's 'editor at gunpoint' quip

By Niall O'Connor

Gerry Adams's remarks about a newspaper editor being held at gunpoint have been attacked in the Irish parliament, but the Sinn Fein leader has refused to apologise.

His comments represent a veiled threat to the free Press in the Republic, according to Tanaiste Joan Burton.

The Labour Party leader yesterday launched a stinging rebuke of the Sinn Fein president's decision to joke about a gun being placed at the head of the editor of the Irish Independent.

Ms Burton used a speech in the Dail to highlight the deaths of journalists Veronica Guerin and Martin O'Hagan, who were both gunned down during the course of their duties.

She claimed that the remarks made by Mr Adams at a Sinn Fein dinner in New York should be withdrawn.

"The comments by Deputy Adams at last week's fundraiser in New York about going to smash up printing presses is a barely concealed threat to the modern media of the consequences of interfering with "powerful men," the Labour leader said.

"In recent years Irish journalists such as Veronica Guerin and Martin O'Hagan have been murdered, and we continue to see the savagery meted out to members of the media reporting international conflicts.

"A free Press is a cornerstone of our democracy. I would ask Deputy Adams to withdraw and apologise for these remarks and remove the veiled threat that has been made to the press in Ireland," Ms Burton added.

At the event in Manhattan, Mr Adams stated: "And when the Irish Independent condemned his actions as 'murder most foul' what did Michael Collins do?

"He dispatched his men to the office of the Independent and held the editor at gunpoint as they dismantled the entire printing machinery and destroyed it."

The remarks were criticised by several TDs and ministers yesterday, but Mr Adams has so far refused to withdraw them or apologise.

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