Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Ferris stands firm over McCabe killers’ backing

Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris has refused to back down on his public show of solidarity with convicted IRA killers Pearse MaAuley and Kevin Walsh.

The pair were released from Castlerea Prison in the Republic last week after serving a shortened sentence of more than 10 years for the killing of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in a botched post office raid in Adare in 1996.

Mr Ferris met the two inmates and their families in prison last Tuesday to plan their release and greeted them the following morning as they left prison in a Ford Transit van.

Mayor of Limerick Kevin Kiely last night called for the immediate resignation of Mr Ferris and said he had a case to answer before an Oireachtas ethics committee.

“His position is now untenable,” said the Fine Gael councillor. “It wasn't right for a sitting TD to go and collect those killers. I'm not interested in whether he is a friend of theirs — his conduct is unbecoming of a member of the Dail. He was elected by the people of Kerry to represent them as a TD and his job is to legislate for the country.

“That covers judicial legislation too, and it doesn't look right for him to be meeting two people who were initially charged with the murder of Jerry McCabe and attempted murder of Ben O'Sullivan with the judge eventually accepting a plea of manslaughter.”

Mr Kiely said the politician had acted insensitively by picking up the killers. “It was very wrong,” he said. “It showed a total disregard for the feelings of the McCabe family.”

But Mr Ferris again defended his actions last night in Navan, where his party met to debate their stance on Lisbon and mull over internal party disquiet over Sinn Fein's relevance and future in the South.

“I was at the prison at their [McCauley and Walsh's] request. I have visited every prison in the UK and Ireland where republican prisoners are held,” he said.

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