February 26, 2014
Just as a reminder:
Taken from the freegerry.com web site:
Now that the "Downey" case has opened a can of worms it now proves that the NIO, SF and the Unionists were complicit in Gerry McGeough's politically motivated arrest and incarceration.
The letter below was sent to Mr. Gerry Adams and to Mr. Kelly on February 13, 2012 from the Free Gerry McGeough Campaign Committee Chairpersons:
THE LAST THREE PARAGRAPHS TELL IT ALL!
February 13, 2012:
REPLY TO SINN FEIN FROM GERRY McGEOUGH CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
Recently several prominent supporters of the campaign to free Gerry McGeough forwarded emails sent from Sinn Fein for our comments. These emails say that Sinn Fein has called for Gerry McGeough’s release from Maghaberry and therefore our justice campaign should “focus our efforts on the British government, which is responsible for his imprisonment, and on the Irish government, which is a co-signatory to the Weston Park agreement.”
Gerry McGeough has been imprisoned by the British for more than a year at Maghaberry. Clearly the combined weight of court challenges, calls from political parties including Sinn Fein , together with pressure through any and all other political mechanisms, have not yet been sufficient to compel the British to free him. Like any other justice campaign, we can only try for greater efforts by any and every source open to us, until the British give Gerry McGeough the freedom to which we all agree he is entitled.
The primary focus of efforts to pressure the British crown has been legal challenges in British courts, thus far including an abuse of process application, a Diplock trial defense, appeals, and judicial review. Even now a ruling on his pending judicial review is imminent, and could mean freedom for Gerry McGeough.
Given what has already occurred in his case, and indeed in the long history of British courts dealing with Irish Republican cases, there is no assurance of justice for Gerry McGeough. If the crown judge rules against him, the only alternative means of increasing pressure on the British will be to ask more from political parties. As a party which includes a Deputy First Minister, and whose backing helped grant David Ford a renewed term as Stormont Justice Minister, Sinn Fein’s help would be pivotal.
However, the campaign is by no means limited to Sinn Fein. Eamon O’Cuiv, of Fianna Fail, and several SDLP members have visited Gerry McGeough at Maghaberry, and pledged support. Their support was only enlisted when members of Sinn Fein who support Gerry McGeough advised that their requests within party channels for effective rather than token action were stonewalled.
We then received emails and read published letters criticizing Gerry McGeough and our campaign, for not trusting exclusively Sinn Fein; and for accepting help from Fianna Fail and the SDLP despite past policies of those parties regarding Republicans. We will continue to lobby all potential channels of support that might assist in pressuring the British crown directly or through the Irish government.
Gerry McGeough is imprisoned by the British on charges that he joined the IRA in 1975 and that he was wounded in an IRA engagement with a member of the notorious British Ulster Defense Regiment, during the time of the Hunger Strike of 1981.The evidence trotted out against him included medical testimony and photographs of bullet wounds he suffered as an IRA Volunteer, as well as nearly 8 years of imprisonment for IRA activities in Germany and the United States. Given this background, and Britain’s desire to use this case as a precedent against other Republicans, it is difficult to see any mechanism for compelling the crown to release Gerry McGeough without Sinn Fein intensifying its efforts.
We also received inquiries about how much they had already done for Gerry McGeough. We hesitated before making this reply. The campaign is supported by a broad spectrum. It includes Sinn Fein members and party supporters, as well as others with very different views. The campaign is united by the one aim of freedom for Gerry McGeough. We want to work constructively with Sinn Fein and all others who can help win his freedom. We have no other agenda.
We were reluctant to clarify the record regarding Gerry McGeough, since an honest response might create further difficulties or even be cited as a reason to do nothing more on the issue. It now appears, given the decision to publish this correspondence in AP/RN, that we have no alternative.
We wish to acknowledge again that after Gerry McGeough’s arrest in 2007, Michelle Gildernew wrote one of the character reference letters which were introduced during his bail hearing, and this letter was helpful to McGeough’s solicitors. On a couple of occasions, during the four years of court proceedings, members of Sinn Fein attended the trial for Gerry and his co-defendant.
However there was a telling disparity between these actions and the far more frequent, vocal, and visible interventions by prominent DUP members, led by Arlene Foster and Maurice Morrow against Gerry McGeough.
DUP intervention, climaxed by Foster and Morrow’s presence in court to influence and celebrate the verdict, was patently obvious to the public and Diplock judge and conveyed a clear signal that the case against McGeough meant far more to the DUP, than to any other political faction
It is also appreciated that Sinn Fein members, most recently Ray McCartney in December, visited Gerry McGeough amongst other Republican prisoners at Maghaberry and said that his case, among others, and the protest against brutal H-Block like strip-searches, were high on the agenda. However, David Ford, who presides over these injustices, then had his term extended by Sinn Fein in partnership with the DUP, and was thereby empowered to continue these injustices.
We accept that the British broke the Weston Park agreement by jailing Gerry McGeough on thirty year old charges. Britain’s stance in prosecuting former IRA members while conferring an apparent amnesty for murders by British troopers or crown constables is hypocritical. Sinn Fein, better than anyone, knows the difference between token statements meant to do no more than placate supporters, and effective action on issues of importance. Without Sinn Fein, as the representative of former IRA members during these talks, demanding that “unambiguous” pledges be honored, it is apparent that the crown feels free to break its word with impunity.
Gerry McGeough’s solicitors urged the British crown court to follow the reading of Weston Park advanced by Sinn Fein. The British and Stormont justice ministry rejected this interpretation out of hand. The trial was suspended pending an abuse of process hearing. No one from Sinn Fein took the witness stand on Gerry McGeough’s behalf. His solicitors, who have strong contacts with Sinn Fein, were forced to call a loyalist, William Smith, to testify for Gerry McGeough. The application was denied and the Diplock trial continued. We are left to speculate whether testimony from any Sinn Fein representative about what was agreed at Weston Park might have altered the outcome and halted the trial before Gerry McGeough was tried and jailed.
Now an application for a judicial review has been lodged, and a decision is pending. In addition to the Weston Park pledges, McGeough contends that he should be eligible for immediate release because the 8 years in jail in Germany and America should be applied to satisfy the 2 year GFA release requirements. His solicitors cited a dozen comparable cases where Republicans imprisoned in other jurisdictions had their time credited by means of a pardon (Royal Prerogative of Mercy). They were able to obtain and produce copies of these pardons which were attached as exhibits in support.
In making this application, Gerry McGeough, in a sworn affidavit, said that while an elected member of the Sinn Fein Ard Chomairle, he often spoke to Gerry Kelly on the negotiations regarding his own case as well as other On-the-Runs (OTRS). McGeough attested that he was specifically told by Gerry Kelly that he was on the list of cases being negotiated, and finally told that he was free to go home to Tyrone without fear of arrest or charges. Gerry Kelly says that “this was not the case.”
Gerry McGeough was so sure of this conversation that he not only returned to Tyrone for the first time in years, but began public preparations to move his family there, including applying for planning permission, building a house, enrolling his children in school and moving around openly. McGeough’s solicitors contend that he was removed from the list some time after he left Sinn Fein, and arrested because he ran as an Independent Republican.
After this application was argued, the crown judge directed that the record be kept open for an affidavit from Gerry Kelly. Kelly had previously declined to cooperate with McGeough’s solicitors in preparing an affidavit that would have supported him. Our understanding is that Kelly’s solicitors on January 12th sent a letter which was such that McGeough’s solicitors had to incorporate it in a submission that made reference to the “obvious tension” between McGeough’s and Kelly’s positions.
Gerry McGeough, now in his 50s, has suffered heart attacks since his arrest in 2007. Last week he was hospitalized again for his heart ailment and will need further surgery. He is separated from his wife and four young children and imprisoned at Maghaberry in conditions which can only exacerbate his medical problems. He is in jail on 30 year old charges that were clearly part of the IRA’s struggle against British rule. It is difficult to imagine the frustrations that even someone who has served 8 years in jail, must feel to be held in a British prison in the conditions at Maghaberry on decades old charges, in the midst of what we are often told is a new political dispensation. It must be especially hurtful, when members of Sinn Fein or supportive organizations in America, advise that they have been discouraged from campaigning for more pressure to free Gerry McGeough, and are told to “focus their efforts elsewhere”
FREE GERRY McGEOUGH CAMPAIGN
February 25, 2014
The Free Gerry McGeough Campaign has always maintained its position that the arrest of Gerry McGeough in 2007 and his 2 year incarceration in Maghaberry prison was most definitely politically motivated.
How a court hearing revealed a scheme to allow on the runs Irish republicans to return to UK
Below are excerpts from articles written and published on the "freegerry.com" website during our campaign to bring about justice for Gerry McGeough.
March 7, 2010
In a sensational front page story the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune newspaper has exposed a secret deal between the British government and Sinn Féin over the granting of "Royal Pardons" to dozens of "on-the-run" IRA members, due solely to their loyalty to the Sinn Féin leadership.
The news broke just a day ahead of Gerry's scheduled appearance before a Diplock Court in Belfast on a series of Troubles related charges, some dating back 35 years.
According to the report there exists a list of 216 on-the-runs. Gerry's name is among them, but only 47 have been granted this special treatment. Several of these were wanted for killings and bombings carried out during the Troubles, but have now been given assurances that no charges will be brought against them.
The news comes amid growing anger among nationalists in the East Tyrone area at the discrimination involved in Gerry's case and the complete indifference of the Sinn Féin leadership towards his family's plight.
Former IRA men 'given immunity' in secret deal
Ex-IRA gun-runner and former Sinn Féin ard comhairle member, Gerry McGeough, goes on trial in Belfast tomorrow charged with IRA membership in 1975 and the attempted murder of a UDR man in 1981.
In a bizarre case, McGeough will become the first republican on trial for historical ... more
Woodward denies IRA 'on the runs' given pardons (BBC News)
Tyrone republican Gerry McGeough told the Sunday Tribune 47 of the 216 fugitives were told they could return. Mr McGeough, who is to stand trial for IRA ... more
April 21, 2011
“the McGeough case is a blight on the Good Friday Agreement and those sworn to uphold it. Reputable over-seas newspapers have confirmed that a deal was made between the British government and Sinn Fein for ex-provos 'on the run' to receive 'Royal Pardons' in '98 and McGeough was one of those 50”.
Go to the "freegerry.com" website for more details on this subject matter. There are seven (7) years worth of documentation calling McGeough's arrest and incarceration politically motivated by both ends; not to mention the seven years of persecution the McGeough family was subjected to during his almost 4 year trial and 2 year incarceration.
Apparent Collapse of the Haass Initiative
1/6/14 by Helen McClafferty
The apparent collapse of the Haass Initiative once again shows that the Unionists have a very effective veto over all and any developments in the Six-Counties that might smack of progress for the Nationalist community.
Over the past year or so they have managed to block or otherwise undermine a long list of projects that may have been of benefit to Nationalists. These include a motorway from the Monaghan/Tyrone border to Derry City, a bridge linking counties Louth and Down and the Long Kesh development to name but some.
Towards the end of December, meanwhile, the DUP Stormont Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton, managed to outmaneuver the Stormont Agriculture Minister, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, and prevent the transfer of £110 million in funds to cash starved, largely Nationalist community projects. Ironically, Hamilton used a Catholic Diplock Court judge to get his way. In typical timid-style Sinn Féin’s O’Neill did not challenge the ruling.
Part of the problem facing Nationalists, who are now the majority in the Six-Counties, lies in the fact that they have pathetically poor political leadership. Those supposedly protecting Nationalist interests have come to resemble a huddle of dazed, dopey sheep standing petrified while vicious Unionist dogs run rings around them.
A more significant problem is that under British-controlled Stormont Nationalists will forever be kept “in their place”. The time has now come to think outside the box.
I recently came across an old article which I found very interesting, considering that the Sinn Féin strategy to bring about a United Ireland has now collapsed into a hopeless mess. It was written by Gerry McGeough in December, 1995 when he was an Irish Republican political prisoner here in the United States. The article was one of Gerry’s very popular Éireann go Brách columns, which he wrote for The Irish People during his time in the States.
I asked Gerry if I could reproduce it and he agreed. Re-reading it he noted that most of it still holds true even after almost twenty years. This was long before the Good Friday Agreement and he admits that he didn’t think then that the Irish people would have abandoned Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution so easily, even though they were mostly symbolic in nature.
He also said that the proposed new Super-Councils would provide a better vehicle for Secession than the Westminster constituencies outlined in the original. He emphasized that it could be achieved through peaceful political action and that there would be no need for standing armies in the current context. Otherwise, he feels that the idea still has merit.
I think so too and hope that it will spark some kind of debate and much-needed new thinking on Irish independence.
The Need to Secede
By Gerry McGeough
Futurologists, those sober-minded individuals who analyze current trends in politics, finance, commerce, demographics, sociology and so forth in order to predict future developments in society, must find themselves in the realm of the opaque where the six counties are concerned. Such is the mixed cauldron of variables there right now that standard procedures of divination are unlikely to yield much in the way of enlightenment.
Indeed, futurologists might as well abandon their regular modus operandi and just haul out the chicken entrails for all the foresight they’re liable to receive. One gut feeling’s as good as the next in the current context.
That said, and in spite of all the contradictions, strains, backtracking, posturing and confusion so evidently inherent in the peace process, a broadly discernible albeit ostensibly unfocused development is emerging. At its most rudimentary, this would seem to imply the concept of an Assembly eventually evolving from a series of protracted talks. Talks, of course, being a euphemism for negotiations of labyrinthine complexity; not forgetting a liberal dash of the histrionics and temper tantrums so beloved by unionist politicians.
Participants to such an Assembly – Lord preserve us lest anyone should refer to it as being “Stormont-like” – would, presumably be elected representatives drawn from the various hues of nationalist and unionist opinion within the six counties. Like all practical politicians, the need to ply their trade would override any inhibitions about violating those ever-irksome earlier stances on this and that. Besides, wasn’t “Principle” a book by Machiavelli or something?! By Assembly time, most of the holy cattle would have been already packed off to the abattoir in any case.
The main thing would be that politicians could do what they do best, namely: obfuscate, legislate (to some devolved extent at least), debate, speechify, pretend whatever needs to be pretended at all and any given times and, of course, express outrage at the behaviour of opponents while masking relief at not being on the skewer themselves. Now, what else was there? . . . Oh yes, serve constituents, naturally.
Added to this would be the lure of being in a position to appropriate slices of the lucrative flow of international funds towards the dreams and schemes of needy, deserving, and, above all, loyal voters. Such an Assembly, under British auspices with perhaps some joint authority input from Dublin, all within the European context, could roll along nicely for several political lifetimes, thank you very much indeed. Hey. If it leads to a united Ireland, then fine! Since we’re all presumed utilitarian at heart, I’m sure everyone could accommodate themselves to whatever arrangement might be necessary in the interim.
A few years from now, though, committed Irish nationalists might want to explore the merits of the secession factor. “Secession” isn’t quite the term when referring to areas of Ireland under British occupation, but it’ll suffice for now. This would entail the overwhelmingly nationalist areas of occupied Ulster simply declaring their independence from Britain. These areas would include all of Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, Derry City, most of County Derry, North Antrim, West Belfast, South Down, South Armagh and considerable chunks of Mid-and North Armagh. In short, most of the six-county land area! Since the British hacked up our country on a county-by-county basis during Partition, what’s to stop us taking it back bit by bit, unpalatable as that may be for most of us, if all else fails?
In the wake of a carefully conducted, efficient political campaign on the issue, a Westminster general election could provide the opportunity for putting the secession program into effect. Secessionist candidates standing in constituencies covering each of the areas mentioned, would make it clear that once elected they would fulfil the wishes of their voters by withdrawing their districts from the so-called United Kingdom – having an obvious mandate to do so.
At that point, they could register their independent status at the United Nations and apply to join the rest of Ireland to form a single political unit. This, of course, would be a mere formality provided Dublin retains Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution. Either way, the newly independent areas of Ulster would be entitled to raise a standing army to defend themselves against British aggression.
Britain, of course, would never tolerate or permit such a state of affairs and would undoubtedly clamp down on subsequent civil disobedience from the self-liberated denizens of Ulster. So be it! The Irish nationalist cause would be back on the agenda once more and the freedom struggle a burning issue again; this time for a new generation of Irish patriots and our overseas Diaspora. Could the secession issue become a challenge for courageous visionaries in years to come? A new test for the famed stamina, tenacity and ingenuity of our people perhaps? Don’t bother to ask the futurologists – just read Irish history! Meantime, back to Stormont! Éireann go brách!