The Word on the Week

‘Slab’ Murphy

There is a saying that “there is nothing surer than death and taxes” the truth of which came home to Thomas Slab Murphy this week. The coupling of the two ‘fears’ gives to the taxation system the aura of certainty!
He has been described as an ordinary person without any flamboyance or style which one might associate with the £1 million found on his farm by the Criminal Assets Bureau in 2006.

The circumstances which brought him into the tax net are interesting.
It was in 2005 when the CAB and its Northern equivalent were involved in talks with the Garda and Revenue that reference was made to the £12 million in property in Manchester linked to his name. Murphy appeared on national TV with his solicitor who read out a statement stating that Murphy was a farmer. Previously he had described himself as having no occupation and therefore had no need to make tax returns.

It was this public declaration of his occupation that enabled a case for tax-evasion to be made against him. The trail of legal challenges were finally brought to a conclusion, with a guilty verdict and sentencing of 18 months imprisonment, yesterday.

During the trial the prosecution focussed solely on farm income and the Judge treated him as a cattle dealer. His income from selling cattle in the local marts, along with legitimate Government grants going back over the years of non-disclosure, formed the basis of the case against him.
Dealing with Murphy’s other assets will have to wait for another day.

Prior to sentencing yesterday Murphy went with three friends to the local polling station to vote in the general election. Some reporters and photographers were there. While Murphy was voting one of the occupants of his car went to the reporter’s car and told them they could not take photographs. In South Armagh/North Co Louth (Murphy’s farm straddles the border) intimidation flourishes!

Writing to the church in Rome (Romans Chapter 13) St Paul points out that the authorities are ordained by God. He was not so much concerned with their ungodly behaviour as to ensure the Christians obedience to their laws.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
The Apostle then says pay your tax, and this to a government who was likely to misuse it! “Because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.”
He adds that because you have put your trust in Jesus and had your life turned around, trust him daily – “So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

This gives great hope for the Slab Murphy’s and George Morrison’s of this world. Whatever the “works of darkness” may be by God’s grace they can be forgiven in Christ.