Michelle O’Neill condemns fuel laundering following cousin’s conviction

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Michelle O’Neill has said she has “no problem” condemning criminality after her cousin was convicted of fuel laundering.

Responding to the criticism Ms O’Neill was asked by the BBC if she would condemn anyone in fuel laundering

“I don’t have a problem with that, I absolutely condemn anyone who has been involved in fuel laundering or criminality,” she said.

Gareth Malachy Doris, 39, of Gortnaskea Place, Coalisland, had denied fraudulent evasion of duty but was found guilty at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court last week.

Ulster Unionist MLA for Mid Ulster Sandra Overend said Mrs O’Neill has a responsibility, as the leader of a political party, to unequivocally condemn anyone involved in fuel laundering.

The charges followed the attendance of police and HM Customs officials at an incident at J & K coaches in Ardboe on March 19, 2014.

The court heard how Doris was connected to two fuel laundering sites in Armagh by DNA samples recovered at the premises.

Doris has a previous conviction for involvement in an IRA attack on police in 1997.

Ulster Unionist Sandra Overend said Mrs O’Neill has a responsibility, as the leader of a political party, to unequivocally condemn anyone involved in fuel laundering.

“Tens of millions of pounds have been lost to the public purse due to fuel laundering,” she said.

“This is money that is badly needed in our health service and our schools. Indeed as a former health minister, she should be all too aware of how vital it is that all revenue streams are maximised to help reduce waiting lists and recruit more staff.

Mrs O’Neill is from Clonoe in Co Tyrone – from a family with a long history of republican activity.