Rabbitte rules out negotiations with Sinn Féin

21/02/2005 - 10:02:15

There is no prospect of Sinn Féin being involved in the business end of politics after the exposure of a huge money-laundering racket being linked to the IRA, it was claimed today.

In the wake of police raids, arrests and cash seizures to crack the massive fraud scam, Labour Party leader Rabbitte said the Sinn Féin leadership had been given a wake up call to sever their ties with the IRA.

“No, there is no immediate prospect (of doing business with Sinn Féin) that I can see,” he said.

Mr Rabbitte said the scale of the money-laundering operation should force Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to distance themselves from the IRA once and for all.

“If that doesn’t bring members of Sinn Féin to their senses and realise the nature of the organisation that they are members of then nothing will,” he said.

Mr Rabbitte said the only option for the republican movement was to stand down the IRA and discharge their obligations under the Good Friday Agreement.

He said republicans would be left facing a public test of their bona fides and commitment to democracy.

“They can do that by a unilateral act of decommissioning, advising the PSNI of who are the murderers of Robert McCartney,” he said.

As Minister for Justice Michael McDowell and Northern Ireland SecretaryPaul Murphy meet today to discuss the cross-border battle to smash a massive IRA money-laundering racket, it emerged almost £500,000 (€726,000) was seized in weekend raids.

Gardaí recovered £437,000 (€634,000) yesterday and £250,000 (€363,000) was found when officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau officers visited a man in his 20s in the Tullamore area of Co Offaly.

A middle-aged man in Dublin handed over a further £67,000 (€97,000).

CAB also seized £120,000 (€174,300) from two businessmen in Munster – almost £100,000 (€145,000) when they visited a businessman in the Millstreet area of north Cork, and a further £20,000 (€29,000) in a follow-up inquiry with a businessman near Rathmore in east Kerry.

They money will be sent for forensic and other technical examinations.

Yesterday’s operations in Munster followed an investigation into the activities of financial adviser Ted Cunningham from Farren in mid-Cork, and the discovery of some £2.3m (€3.3m) in the basement of his home last Thursday.

Forensic tests are expected in the coming days to prove the origins of the bank notes.

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