NewsCrime Desk

‘Slab’ Murphy kept away from IRA inmates

Crime DeskBy Eamon Dillon
Thomas 'Slab' Murphy
Thomas 'Slab' Murphy

INFAMOUS border bandit Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy has been banged up with some of Ireland’s most notorious prisoners.

He was convicted this week of tax evasion worth €190,000 and sentenced to 18 months behind bars.

Now the bachelor farmer and alleged former IRA chief of staff is sharing a landing with Warren Dumbrell, one of the prison system’s most notorious inmates, in the Midlands prison.

Warren Dumbrell

Despite his reputation as a leading paramilitary, Slab is locked up away from the other jailed paramilitaries in the high-security Portlaoise Prison.

The dissidents, including members of the Continuity and Real IRA, are reported to have refused to allow Slab on to their landings, according to sources.

The decision means that Slab, now prisoner 102444, is clearly being treated as a non-political prisoner.

His new home on A1 landing is where prisoners are kept in protective isolation and don’t have any direct contact with other prisoners, although they can at times speak or shout to each other.

Dumbrell, who is serving life for murder, was the ringleader of the Mountjoy Siege in 1996, in which jail staff were taken hostage and subjected to mock execution.

Another prisoner on the landing is Gerard Browne, who was transferred to the Midlands Prison after taking another prisoner hostage in Limerick.

After being sentenced on Friday, Slab nodded and smiled at family members at the Special Criminal Court.

The man described by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams as “a good republican” is credited with supporting the Good Friday peace deal. Adams’ support for Murphy highlighted the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein’s policy on taxing the rich, while turning a blind eye to the tax-dodging millionaire
smuggler.

Since the ceasefire, Murphy has been linked to widespread diesel laundering, tax dodging and cross-border smuggling worth millions.

Hours before his sentence hearing on Friday, Slab’s power in his native Hackballscross , Co. Louth, was demonstrated as he cast his vote in the General Election.

Photographers and journalists were threatened by a number of men as Slab went to cast his vote.

The former IRA man has used his family farm’s location on both sides of the border to make millions through cross border smuggling.

A raid carried out by police on both sides of the border in 2006 gave an insight into how he ran his operation. It emerged that sheds and buildings on one side of the border opened out into the other jurisdiction. There were also oil tanks on his property on both sides of the border and connected by underground pipes.

One PSNI officer estimated the revenue lost to the government to be worth millions.

“I believe criminal groups operating from the south Armagh area are involved in prolific fuel smuggling not only on both sides of the Irish border, but also into Great Britain,” he stated.

Slab Murphy attempted to sue the Sunday Times for libel after they published a story naming him as senior IRA commander responsible for launching attacks in the U.K.

One of the witnesses who gave evidence against Murphy, former IRA man Eamon Collins, was later stabbed and beaten to death in Newry.

Senator Mairia Cahill immediately welcomed the sentence imposed on Slab Murphy, commenting that “justice finally caught up with this notorious individual”.

In a statement issued through his lawyers after his sentence, Murphy maintained his innocence.

“Naturally I am very disappointed at the verdict of the court and have instructed my legal team to pursue an appeal immediately,” he stated.