'Slab' Murphy still a good Republican - McDonald

Ruairi Quinn attacked Sinn Féin last night, saying people will hold their past against them

Newstalk, Sinn Féin, Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald, Thomas Slab Murphy

Thomas 'Slab' Murphy, who owns a farm in Co Louth straddling the border with Northern Ireland, arrives at the non-jury Special Criminal Court in Dublin | Image: Niall Carson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sinn Féin's Deputy Leader says she still regards Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy as a good Republican, praising his support for the peace process.

Her comments follow an attack by former Labour minister Ruairi Quinn, who said last night that Sinn Féin should not be considered for Government.

In December, the Special Criminal Court, designed to counter terrorism, convicted Murphy for failing to file tax returns.

Sinn Féin has since been criticised for standing-by the 66-year-old former IRA member, however Mary Lou McDonald thinks anyone in favour of peace is a good Republican:

Speaking at the launch of Alex White's general election campaign last night Mr Quinn said that Labour and Fine Gael are the only parties that want to be in government.

The former Education Minister said he believes that Sinn Féin's past would rule them out for a lot of voters.

He added that Labour is not a protest party - despite some members not wanting to go into government in 2011.

"We want control. We want power so that we can actually re-distribute wealth in our society," said Quinn.

Mr Quinn is not seeking re-election, choosing to retire after a long tenure in Leinster House.

Reflecting on his time as a politician he said that Ireland had entirely changed.

"If 43 years ago I had been asked would the Ireland when I was retiring from the Dáil after a long career would have passed marriage equality, would be looking at repealing the 8th, would be a very strong success story in the European Union... I would have been told that I was out of my mind."