Illegal fuel laundering should not be used as a political football – Barry McElduff MLA
Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff has condemned what he described as a political slur by Fine Gael at the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly meeting today.
McElduff was referring to a suggestion from Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan that Sinn Féin is benefitting from illegal fuel laundering.
He said attempts to politicise this issue will deflect from genuine efforts to tackle the problem.
The West Tyrone MLA said;
“It is clear from today’s meeting of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly that Fine Gael is intent on politicising the issue of illegal fuel laundering ahead of the general election which they have said will be a battle between themselves and Sinn Féin.
“Sinn Féin has been vociferous in our condemnation of illegal fuel laundering and I reject strongly the allegation made by Deputy Patrick O’Donovan at today’s meeting which was nothing more than a political slur.
“Even the Garda Commissioner, in a letter written on her behalf to my colleague Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn, says that the Gardaí have no information to support assertion of journalist Jim Cusack that ‘the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confines its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette-smuggling and counterfeiting’.
“I welcome the recommendations of the report that was furnished to the assembly today and which calls for legislation on both sides of the border to help authorities tackle the problem.
“Sinn Féin is up for tackling this issue in a serious manner. We will take a lead on it in the North. If Fine Gael is up for genuinely tackling the issue then they should take a lead on it in the Dáil and publish the required legislation.
“Efforts to politicise this issue will only deflect from the genuine efforts to tackle what is a major problem on both sides of the border.
“Fine Gael need to get real. We in Sinn Féin are happy to take them on in political debate but resorting to slurs and misinformation, particularly on such a serious issue, is irresponsible and politically bankrupt.”