Gerry Adams was speaking this afternoon during a visit to The Square Shopping Centre in response to comments made by Enda Kenny this morning.
Following a claim of responsibility for the gun attack at the Regency Hotel last Friday by the Continuity IRA the question was put to the Taoiseach whether the guns used in that attack were similar to weapons used by the Provisional IRA prior to decommissioning. Mr Kenny said he didn’t know and that they “should ask the President of Sinn Fein.”
Mr Adams said the Taoiseach’s comments were just a distraction from the governments failure to deal with organised crime. “By the way some of the finger pointing by the Taoiseach or Tainiste is extremely outrageous and self serving and opportunistic,” the Sinn Fein leader said.
“This was an extremely serious incident, these people represent a huge threat to anyone who gets in their way. The IRA have gone, I’d like to think that we’ve played some part in all of that. The Taoiseach knows that, he knows that the issue of IRA weapons has been dealt with they are well beyond use. All of that is a distraction away from the failure of the government to ensure that organised crime is tackled and tackled properly.”
Mr Adams said Sinn Fein have plans to deal with the rising levels of criminality if they get in to power.
“These gangland criminal thugs acting above and beyond the law need to be behind bars,” he said.
“Sinn Fein are very, very clear in our stand against criminality of any kind. The government have cut Garda numbers by 2,500, they’ve closed 140 Garda stations, our firm commitment is to replace those numbers.
“It is our view that organised criminality can be tackled and those involved can be subject to due process. The claim by the group, styling itself the Continuity IRA, doesn’t matter what they say, they cannot be allowed act in this manner.”
He said that people trying to link him and his party to dissident republicans are very wide of the mark.
“For what it’s worth, I and other Sinn Fein representatives are under active death threat by this very same group, this was confirmed to me in the past few months by the PSNI,” he said.
“Let me be very, very clear, we have no truck at all with them and the only way to deal with these folks is subject them to due process, get them behind bars, tackle criminality, create public confidence and make sure the Gardai have the resources they require.
“I have appealed to these folks I have offered to talk to them, we have offered to do it directly, they should go away, this is the centenary year of 1916 and this would be the ideal time, though they should have done it long ago, to exit stage left. The vast majority of people on this island want to live in peace and live within the law.”