Thursday, November 08, 2007

'Slab' In The Slammer - Well He Was Arrested

The Criminal Assets Bureau was established in the Republic of Ireland in 1996. It investigates persons who are suspected of deriving assets directly or indirectly from criminal activity. For those it establishes a case against, action is taken in the Courts to deprive or deny those charged of the assets and of the proceeds of their activity.

'Slab' Murphy has been said over a considerable time to have been the Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA and has a farm which straddles the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. He has just been arrested by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

The Bureau has an impressive record. I was a member of the Northern Ireland Select Committee which went to Dublin to examine its work. Our report was influential in encouraging the establishment of its equivalent in the UK, known as the Assets Recovery Agency.

The Agency is no doubt taking a close interest in developments over 'Slab' who has always had his farming boots either sides of the border.


Bob Piper said...

The poor bloke has got to do something - the provisionals haven't fired a shot in anger for about 10 years, and that makes a Chief of Staff (even someone who has been one for 'a considerable time') somewhat redundant.

It is interesting though the way in which the media use this story. Would they have made the same fuss if someone had been a senior officer in the Irish Army and had been arrested for corruption? Somehow, I think not.

Harry Barnes said...


The Belfast Agreement was issued in April 1998 and PIRA's Army Council did not announce an end to its armed campaign until July 2005. There is a question, of course, on how far PIRA's leadership were fully in control of their foot soldiers for (at least)the earlier years of that interregnum. But things were far from sweetness and light. Armed robberies were rife.

Two Reports of the Northern Ireland Select Committee in 2002 are of relevance, with people ranging from Peter Robinson, Eddie McGrady and Harry Barnes agreeing to these publications. One was on "The Financing of Terrorism in Northern Ireland", the other on "The Impact in Northern Ireland of Cross-Border Road Fuel Price Differentials" (which was widespread smuggling with considerable paramilitary involvement). PIRA's running costs were estimated at £500,000 a year at the time,but their activists (whether commanded or not)were pulling in at least 10 times that amount.