Adams is "spokesman and publicist" for IRA - Burton

Tánaiste says she deplores the name republican being 'abused' by 'those involved in paramilitarism and murder'

Adams is "spokesman and publicist" for IRA - Burton

Gerry Adams outside Leinster House Image: Rolling News

The Tánaiste has said that Gerry Adams is a "spokesman and publicist" for the IRA.

Joan Burton said she deplores the term republican being 'abused' by 'those involved in paramilitarism and murder'.

Her comments come after Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said that members of the IRA are not criminals.

Tánaiste Joan Burton says most people in Ireland are republicans, but that doesn't make it okay for them to break the law.

"The mask slips when it comes to something like tax evasion involving someday that they see as a good republican," she said.

"I'm a republican, almost every citizen of this state is a constitutional republican and I deplore the name republican being abused by people who are involved in paramilitarism, crime, murder, extortion and racketeering," she added.

The Labour leader said she believes that Mr Adams uses every occasion to be a spokesperson for the IRA.

"I am at a loss frankly at this point in time to understand why Gerry Adams still reference a necessity for the IRA," she said.

"An organistaion for which, if we are to believe him, he has never actually been a member of but for which he seems to be a spokesman and publicist for on every possible occasion," she added.

Sinn Féin has come under pressure following Mr Adams' description of Thomas 'Slab' Murphy - who was convicted of tax evasion earlier this week - as a "good republican."

Mr Adams said earlier on Tuesday he does not believe people involved in the IRA are criminals.

Following his remarks about Mr Murphy, Mr Adams today refused to say whether he accepts rulings handed down by the Special Criminal Court - which heard Mr Murphy's case - and claimed judges deciding cases on their own could make mistakes.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald is reported by The Irish Independent to have said that everyone - including a "good republican" like Mr Murphy - must pay their taxes.