Adams denies 'punishment attack' claims

29/01/2005 - 14:07:55

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today denied his party had the power to turn punishment attacks on and off at will.

Mr Adams dismissed claims by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern that Sinn Féin controlled violence for political expedience.

In a forceful attack on Sinn Féin, Mr Ahern told the Dáil this week that attacks and punishment beatings were switched off for political reasons.

“I reject what the Taoiseach said,” Mr Adams said.

“He knows, and we know him long enough and value his contribution, as I’m sure he values our contribution, no matter about the current difficulties, that Sinn Féin does not turn off and on these so-called punishment beatings or shootings.”

Mr Adams went on to say much work was being done to end the attacks.

“He knows, or he should know, of the work done by Sinn Féin representatives on the ground.

“He knows our opposition to these. I actually think they are totally counterproductive, leaving aside any other issue of morality or any other matter, they’re just totally counterproductive.”

Mr Adams told BBC Radio Ulster that the Taoiseach had attacked his party to deflect scrutiny from the Government over the jailing of a former minister.

Former Irish justice minister Ray Burke was sentenced to six months in jail earlier this week for tax dodging. Burke was elevated to the front benches in 1997 as part of Mr Ahern’s first Cabinet.

“What you saw for electoral reasons for party political reasons, on that particular day, to get them past the embarrassment caused by the imprisonment of a Cabinet minister, the reminder of all of the corruption of the brown envelope culture that permeated establishment politics for so long.

“Bertie played a blinder,” Mr Adams added.

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