Court hears 'Slab' Murphy made no tax returns for eight years

Thomas 'Slab' Murphy
Thomas 'Slab' Murphy

Prominent republican Thomas "Slab" Murphy made no tax returns over an eight-year period despite his cattle and farm dealings running into hundreds of thousands of euro, prosecutors have claimed.

At the opening of his trial for alleged tax offences, lawyers for the State said the accused also drew state grants for his farm straddling the border with Northern Ireland amounting to more than €100,000.

Murphy, 66, from Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin's non-jury Special Criminal Court to nine charges of failing to comply with tax laws between 1996 to 2004.

Paul Burns SC, for the state, said during that period Murphy applied for a "herd number for keeping cattle" - a registration issued to farmers.

Using the number, he applied for and received state grants from the Department of Agriculture totalling well over €100,000, he told the court.

Substantial cash payments were also made by the accused to rent land over the same period, as well as payments in relation to silage used on the rented lands, the barrister said.

These sums were over €300,000 euro and were paid in cash by third party cheques, it is alleged.

Mr Burns said the prosecution case will show Murphy had access to a considerable source or sources of cash.

The accused's dealings with various cattle marts and his dealing of livestock also involved figures "running well into six figures", he told the three-judge court.

Documents were also seized as part of an investigation into the well-known republican by Dublin's Criminal Assets Bureau, the hearing was told.

Mr Burns said the prosecution will rely on tax certificates, which under the law are deemed as evidence of facts unless proven otherwise.

The state barrister added that the Special Criminal Court would be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was guilty of the alleged offences.

Murphy sat in the court, dressed in a brown coat, yellow and white striped open-necked shirt and brown trousers, almost eight years since he was arrested as part of a tax investigation.

The trial is expected to last up to three weeks.

The charges relate to an alleged failure to comply with tax laws in the Irish Republic by not furnishing authorities with a return of income, profits or gains or the sources of them over an eight-year period from 1996 to 2004.

On Tuesday the court remanded Murphy on continuing bail, removing the requirement for him to sign on at a Garda station on any date he is in court.