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'cute hoorism' Former SF councillor says decision to end opposition to non-jury courts is 'utter bulls**t'

Toiréasa Ferris criticised the shift in policy as “power at any cost” and said she will “now have to find another party to vote for”

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Former Sinn Féin councillor Toiréasa Ferris

Former Sinn Féin councillor Toiréasa Ferris

Former Sinn Féin councillor Toiréasa Ferris

A former Sinn Féin councillor and daughter of party grandee Martin Ferris has described the party’s decision to end its opposition to non-jury courts as “utter bulls**t” and “cute hoorism”.

In a series of social media posts, long-serving Sinn Féin councillor Toiréasa Ferris criticised the shift in policy as “power at any cost” and said she will “now have to find another party to vote for”.

Ms Ferris’s comments came after the Sinn Féin ard fheis passed a motion which would see the party allow non-jury courts in exceptional circumstances should they be in power after the next general election.

Sinn Féin has opposed the Special Criminal Court since it was introduced and voted against legislation allowing the use of non-jury trials to convict terrorists and gangland criminals every time it comes before the Dáil.

In a post on Facebook, Ms Ferris said: “How can you square the circle of non-jury trials that don’t violate human rights, when you have a jury system generally, is beyond me.

“That whole motion is total and utter bulls**t. I call it electoral expediency and power at any cost,” she said.

“People want change, meaning honesty, people standing by principles and doing what they said they would,” she added.

Ms Ferris said she is “desperate to see a left-led government” but added that she is “gutted” that Sinn Féin “seem as willing to be whatever they have to be just to get there as others have been”. “Look where that’s gotten us,” she added.

Contacted by Independent.ie, Ms Ferris said the motion “didn’t make sense” as the party cannot say they want the Irish court system to be “compatible with international human rights norms” while also supporting non-jury courts.

“I cannot understand what is different today to the opposition that was held for the last 50 years to the use of courts that violate article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” she said.

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Ms Ferris served on Kerry County Council for 16 years. She resigned after retaining her seat in the 2019 local election. She studied law and has a masters degree in criminal justice and human rights from Queen’s University.

Her father Martin Ferris was a Sinn Féin TD for 18 years. Mr Ferris was criticised when he collected the IRA prisoners convicted of the manslaughter of Garda Jerry McCabe.

Pearse McAuley and Kevin Walsh were convicted by the Special Criminal Court but released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Ms Ferris faced a motion of no confidence in Kerry County Council after she refused to condemn the murder of Gda Cabe during a Late Late Show appearance. She survived the motion due to support from Fianna Fáil councillors.

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