Ferris to act as character witness for former IRA member
Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris is expected to act as a character witness for a former IRA member who is appealing a decision by gardai to refuse him a licence for a firearm.
Former IRA member Angelo Fusco is appealing the decision or a Co Kerry Garda Superintendent on the matter.
Fusco was accompanied to court in Co Kerry yesterday by Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris who is expected to be a character witness on his behalf.
The matter, which had been adjourned, came before Tralee District Court, and was set for hearing in what was expected to be a full contest.
At least four character witnesses were to be called, Fusco's solicitor Padraig O'Connell told Judge James O'Connor.
The Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris accompanied Fusco along with Tralee businessman Eddie Barrett, and family members of Fusco.
Fusco (59), of Knocknacaska, Kilflynn, Tralee, is appealing a decision of Supt James O'Connor given on April 8 last, to refuse to grant him a firearms certificate in respect of a Baikal Shotgun Serial No 119316, according to the notice of appeal, which was signed by Fusco and lodged in the District Court in Tralee.
After being told yesterday by State solicitor Aidan Judge that the matter would take some hours, Judge James O'Connor said it would require a special day and adjourned the matter to a civil court day in October.
There will be a full appeal against the decision, Mr O'Connell stated.
Fusco was one of eight men who broke out of Crumlin Road prison in Belfast in 1981.
Days later Fusco, along with Paul Patrick Magee and Robert Campbell, were convicted in their absence for their part in the murder of British Army Captain Herbert Richard Westmacott.
Westmacott was shot dead by an IRA unit in north Belfast in 1980. He was the highest-ranking member of the SAS to be killed in the Troubles.
In 2000, Fusco and a number of associates were given a special dispensation to return to the North without fear of prosecution.
Fusco, Campbell, Magee and Anthony Gerard Sloan were granted special dispensation by Queen Elizabeth to return to the North after years on the run without fear of further prosecution.