15 April 2005

Irish Independent

**Via News Hound

McDowell accuses Ferris of IRA links

15 April 2005

SINN Fein TD Martin Ferris and Justice Minister Michael McDowell clashed in the Dail yesterday with the minister claiming Mr Ferris was a member of the Army Council of the IRA.

It occurred during a debate on the Garda Siochana Bill as Mr Ferris was making his contribution and setting out his party's views on policing.

Mr Ferris said Sinn Fein aspired to establishing an all-Ireland police service that was among the best in the world. They were ambitious to create real security in their communities and had positive policy alternatives to offer, he said.

And he added: "I will defend absolutely my right, and that of each Sinn Fein deputy, to speak on this bill and the issue of policing."Mr Ferris referred to a member of Sinn Fein, the late John O'Shea, whose family wanted an independent investigation into the circumstances of his death.

"Is it because he is a member of Sinn Fein that his family was denied that," Mr Ferris said to the minister. He said people elected him and the other Sinn Fein members and Mr McDowell had no right to treat them as second-class citizens.

Mr McDowell added: "I have a right to point out that people like the deputy got elected under false pretences. The deputy never told the people that he was a member of the Army Council."

Mr Ferris said the minister had abused his office in denying Sinn Fein a response to the case he referred to. The debate on the Bill continues.

Geraldine Collins

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