December 2, 2012
Please bombard NI SOS Villers with emails (website below) asking her to allow McGeough to be taken to hospital immediately to be assessed for a CABG i.e. a by-pass.
A London cardiologist has clearly stated that Gerry McGeough is literally in mortal danager now of a third and final heart attack. It is essential for Gerry to be assessed immediately.
Gerry is up for release early 2013 - ask Villers to please to act on the above at once.
Free Gerry McGeough Campaign Christmas Message 2012
We would like to begin by thanking all those people in America who have supported Gerry McGeough, his wife Maria Jose and their four children Una, Cormac, Lorcan and Nora over the past number of years. Your help and support in whatever way towards Gerry and his family will always be warmly appreciated and we, the Irish American people will always stand shoulder to shoulder with our people back home in Ireland.
Our Christmas Message 2012 comes with the expectation that Gerry will be released in 2013.
However, his release date is 2031 and we have no guarantee that Gerry will be released in 2013 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement after serving two years.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all and we pray also for those people who are suffering the consequences of Storm Sandy. We wish you all the very best now and for the future.
Personal message from the McGeough family:
“My family and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the tremendous support and encouragement you have given us over the past five years. Many of you have experienced the disastrous effects of Storm Sandy and are now dealing with the aftermath. We are praying for you and your families. God Bless and protect you all.
Gerry and Maria José McGeough.
Gerry McGeough Had a Seventh Stent Inserted Today. His Wife And Their Four Children Want Him Back Home.
November 26, 2012
This morning, Gerry McGeough phoned to say he had been told he was being taken into hospital. He was then taken into Craigavon Area Hospital. He phoned again this evening at 8pm on his return to Maghaberry Prison to say the doctors had inserted a seventh stent. Doctors are very concerned about both his health and the unhealthy prison diet.
Gerry McGeough has already suffered two heart attacks. His wife and their four children are at home, separated from their father and husband. They want him back home.
Libertad para Gerry
Personal message from the McGeough family:
“My family and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the tremendous support and encouragement you have given us over the past five years. Many of you have experienced the disastrous effects of Storm Sandy and are now dealing with the aftermath. We are praying for you and your families. God Bless and protect you all."
Gerry and Maria José McGeough
November 7, 2012
Press Release: Éamon Ó Cuiv TD speaking at Westminster on Gerry McGeough:
The Free Gerry McGeough Campaign attended a meeting in Westminster highlighting the cases of Gerry McGeough, Marian Price, Martin Corey and also the wider prisoner issues including the protest at Maghaberry Prison in the North of Ireland.
Proceedings were chaired by Mr John McDonnell MP. Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuiv (International Chairperson of the Free Gerry McGeough Campaign) and Moya St.Leger (Connolly Association President 2002-2008) spoke on behalf of the Gerry McGeough Campaign. Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy spoke on the Martin Corey case and Monsignor Raymond Murray spoke on the Marian Price case.
Newton Emerson’s ‘look back at the week’ can get it wrong and Gerry McGeough piece sadly was one of them
November 17th 2012
Charges Preferred Against The RUC After So Many Years Would Be An Abuse Of Process But Not So In The Case Of Gerry McGeough.
by Damian Herron
Gerry McGeough was charged and convicted in an British Diplock court of having allegedly shot and wounded a UDR soldier in 1981. That same year on July 9th 1981, Nora McCabe was murdered after being hit by a plastic bullet fired by the RUC. When Nora’s family applied for charges to be brought against the RUC officers involved in her murder and who then committed perjury in the follow-up investigation, Crown Judge Coghlin denied the application stating that too much time had passed and any charges preferred after so many years would be an abuse of process and dismissed. However, when Gerry McGeough’s case was brought before Crown Judge Coghlin, he began by first excluding from court representatives from the British-Irish Rights Watch and the Committee for the Administration of Justice and then proceeded to apply a different set of rules to the case of Gerry McGeough.
Have the DUP ever questioned this decision or called for those RUC officers to be prosecuted? The DUP should consider raising a motion on these issues and then lead the call for justice and equality by insisting that members of the UDR, RUC and British Army are immediately investigated and prosecuted and when found guilty of ‘historic’ offences perpetrated prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, they should serve their sentences with the possibility of applying for early release after two years under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Libertad para Gerry
Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Office
13th November 2012
Thank you for your letter dated 3rdNovember 2012.
In your letter you raise the point that due to the on-going legal proceedings surrounding the case of Gerry McGeough, it would not be appropriate for you to meet and discuss his case.
Mr McGeough’s case has most recently been discussed very publicly on 5th November 2012 in the Stormont Assembly.
It has also been discussed at a press conference on Thursday 5th April 2012.
A petition calling for the release of Gerry McGeough was publicly presented to your predecessor Mr Owen Paterson via the NIO by an SDLP delegation that included their party leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell MP/MLA on Monday 21st May 2012.
A second press conference to discuss Mr McGeough’s case was held on Wednesday 13thJune 2012.
On 4thOctober 2012, Sinn Féin began the process of bringing forward a motion to each council area calling for the release of Mr McGeough.
A motion calling for the release of Mr McGeough was passed unanimously on 25thOctober 2012 by the twenty-one councillors representing the four political parties in the city of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Catalonia. This motion is now being brought before the European Parliament.
On 20thNovember 2012 Mr McGeough’s case will be discussed openly at a public meeting in Westminster that will include Fianna Fáil TD Mr Éamon Ó Cuiv and Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington Mr John McDonnell.
Mr McGeough’s case has also received extensive coverage by local, national and worldwide media.
Despite the on-going legal process, the DUP have been very public in their repeated attempts to sway public opinion against the early release of Mr McGeough under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement 1998.
Under these circumstances, I believe it would be appropriate if you could accept my request for a private meeting and I also hope that this meeting could include at least one family member and at least one representative from the Free Gerry McGeough Campaign.
I would like to discuss:
1. The release of Mr McGeough under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
I await your reply in writing.
Independent Republican Councillor
The Cost £8,304,069 - Gerry McGeough Imprisoned On Alleged Offences Dating Back 37 Years – Dirty Protest - Loyal Parades
by Damian Herron on Monday, November 12, 2012
In April 2012 the DUP expressed anger at the prosecution of Gerry McGeough on alleged offences dating back thirty seven years to 1975 and 1981 costing the taxpayer £226,418 in legal aid. In addition, Gerry’s imprisonment over the past twenty one months will have cost the taxpayer in the region of £175,000. These costs will continue to rise to satisfy the DUP inspired persecution of Gerry and his family.
The cost of policing to satisfy the sectarian desires of Loyal Order parades this year is in the region of £7.4 million.
Rather than implement the 2010 Agreement, the Dirty Protest in Maghaberry Prison continues. From June 2011 until 30th September 2012 it has cost the taxpayer £446,913, paid out by the Prison Service to external companies for cleaning the cells in Roe House. The cost of supplies such as Acro Absorbent Compound needed in the cleaning operation has reached £55,738. These costs will continue to rise daily.
Fourteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, in the middle of a peace process and at a time when we are continually being told to move on, could this money not be put to better use instead of being wasted simply to satisfy the bigoted and vindictive desires of the DUP. A total cost of £8,304,069.
Prosecution and incarceration of Gerry McGeough - £401,418
Loyal Order parades 2012 - £7.4 million
Dirty Protest Cleaning Operation - £502,651
Breakdown of Figures For Dirty Protest Cleaning Operation:
June 2011 – September 2012
£446,913 to pay external companies for cleaning cells due to Dirty Protest
Total cost of supplies to clean cells due to Dirty Protest - £55,738
June 2011 - £3209
July 2011 - £935
August 2011 - £1046
September 2011 - £4395
October 2011 - £4921
November 2011 - £2600
December 2011 - £4932
January 2012 - £6147
February 2012 - £2149
March 2012 – £3429
April 2012 – £192
May 2012 - £5134
June 2012 - £57
July 2012 - £7924
August 2012 - £1505
September 2012 - £7163
Libertad para Gerry
for Gerry McGeough, Marian Price
and Martin Corey
All of the wrongs and injustices that I have campaigned against for over
forty years still exist today”
To examine and discuss the justice issues surrounding
the imprisonment of Irish prisoners Gerry McGeough, Marian Price and Martin
House of Commons, Committee Room 15
20 November at 7 pm
O CUIV TD (Fianna Fail)
minister, currently opposition spokesperson in
the Dáil Éireann for Agriculture, Food, and Community Affairs
CONOR MURPHY MP (Sinn Fein) MP
MP for Newry and Armagh. Minister for Regional Development
in the Northern Ireland Assembly 2007-2011
MONSIGNOR DR RAYMOND MURRAY
Human rights' campaigner, prolific author, editor
Journal and award-winning Irish poet
MOYA ST LEGER
Connolly Association President
Gerry McGeough (53) who was born near Dungannon Co. Tyrone is an honours graduate of Trinity College Dublin. He is a prominent Irish republican who was a Volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). He was the narrator for BBC documentary-maker Peter Taylor's TV series PROVOS screened in the 1990s. After his graduation from TCD in 2001 he returned to Co. Tyrone with his wife. They have four children. McGeough stood as an Independent Republican in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections in 2007. On 8 March 2007 McGeough was arrested by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) as he was leaving the election count centre in Omagh. The arrest was in connection with an incident during The Troubles, the shooting in 1981 of a postman who was also a part-time member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR). The postman who was delivering mail near Aughnacloy
when he was shot, was armed and wearing a bullet-proof vest at the time and managed to return fire shooting McGeough. Both men were severely wounded. In 2007, 26 years after the incident, McGeough and another Volunteer were charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and IRA membership.
On 4 April 2007 both men were remanded in custody to appear at Dungannon Magistrates' Court. McGeough was granted bail on 29 March. In the run-up to the trial in 2010 McGeough had a heart attack and a second one during the trial. He now has six stents in his heart. In February 2011 McGeough was found guilty of the charges against him and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. His accomplice was acquitted of all charges. Under the Good Friday Agreement McGeough should serve no more than two years in jail. McGeough is in HMP Maghaberry. In November 2011 he had a further heart attack in prison and had to be rushed to hospital where he had a further stent inserted. McGeough has been visited by a stream of VIPs, including the Primate of all Ireland Cardinal Brady and former Irish cabinet minister, Eamon O Cuiv, who has been campaigning for his release. In April 2012, McGeough's case was the subject of an off-the-record briefing at the US State Department conducted by Hillary Clinton's Director of Policy, Jake Sullivan. McGeough has no access in Maghaberry to a Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme (CRP) which is available to all NHS cardiac patients and is crucial for all cardiac patients. His grave heart condition is of great concern to his wife and children aged 11 and under.
Marian McGlinchey/Price (58) As one of the so-called "Price sisters" Marian Price was jailed for her part in the IRA London bombing campaign of 1973 and released on licence in 1980 after being granted a Royal Pardon. On 15 May 2011 she was charged with encouraging support for an illegal organisation. This related to her involvement in a statement given at an Easter Rising rally in Derry in 2011. On the same day the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson revoked her release from prison. Marian was told the record of her Royal Pardon had 'gone missing' or had 'been shredded'. Paterson said the decision was made because the threat posed by Price had "significantly increased". On 26 October 2012 Marian was charged with addressing a meeting in support of a proscribed organisation in Derry in 2011. Marian Price has been very ill for months. She was moved to the hospital wing of Hydebank prison in February of 2012 where her condition rapidly deteriorated. The charges against Marian Price and three Derry men were dismissed by Derry Magistrate’s Court in May 2012 but Price was retained behind prison bars. In June 2012 she was moved from Hydebank Prison to a Belfast hospital. In September 2012 Price's solicitor said after examinations by UN, prison and defence doctors their consensus was she was too ill to stand trial. A letter published on 29 June 2012 and signed by 22 TDs, Irish Senators, American community leaders and a host of leading religious figures states:
"Marian Price is the victim of psychological torture and internment without trial, and as a result of this her mental health and physical health has deteriorated rapidly. Given the concerns about her very poor health, we are calling for her immediate release based on humanitarian grounds." Price is still in a Belfast hospital and her condition continues to deteriorate. She now has water on the lungs. Her attempt to have the prosecution against her thrown out of court in Londonderry because of undue delay, has been dismissed. In October 2012 District Judge Barney McElholm said he found no evidence of abuse of process, He fixed a preliminary date for her next court appearance on 21 November 2012.
Martin Corey is a former Provisional IRA member. In 1973, he took part in a Provisional IRA ambush on the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Aghalee. In December 1973 Corey along with the two others were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released in June 1992. Corey was taken back into custody on April 16, 2010 on the basis of "closed material." No reason has been given to him for his internment without trial. On 9 July 2012 Justice Treacy ruled that Martin Corey's human rights had been breached and he should be released immediately on unconditional bail. This was overruled by Secretary of State, Owen Paterson. On July 10, the matter was referred back to the court to be reviewed by Justice McCloskey who further stayed Corey's release until an appeal court could hear it the following day, July 11, when an appeal was heard by Justice McCloskey and Justice Morgan. The court upheld the Secretary of State's overruling, and referred it to be heard again on September 28, 2012. Corey remains in detention without trial.
GERRY MCGEOUGH SUPPORT AT STORMONT - November 5, 2012
SDLP MLA Alban Maginness Speaking at Stormont on Gerry McGeough Case
SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey Speaking at Stormont on Gerry McGeough Case
Sinn Féin MLA Mitchel McLaughlin Speaking at Stormont on Gerry McGeough
Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney Speaking at Stormont on Gerry McGeough
October 27, 2012
Damian Herron posted to Release Gerry McGeough Petition
In their efforts to dismantle the Good Friday Agreement the DUP have consistently refused to dedicate themselves to reconciliation, tolerance, mutual trust and the protection of human rights for all. They will pose for the cameras and travel the world seeking investment and funding. They will promote themselves as honest law-abiding decent citizens. But behind the fabricated tales of goodwill and the veil of deception and political myths is the reality of Unionist bigotry, sectarianism and vindictiveness as experienced, not only by Gerry McGeough and his family, but by many others, fourteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
Published in the Newry Times on October 26, 2012 -
DUP OUTRANGE AND HYPOCRISY OVER MOTIONS CALLING FOR RELEASE OF GERRY MCGEOUGH
The Democratic Unionist Party is outraged with the recent motion calling for the immediate release of Gerry McGeough, Martin Corey and Marian Price. In particular, they have taken issue with the inclusion of Gerry McGeough in the motion brought before Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council by Sinn Féin and supported by the SDLP. They have also been very critical towards the stance taken by the SDLP in supporting the motion and the fact that Mr Brush, a former UDR soldier was present at the council meeting when the motion was tabled. The DUP leader Peter Robinson and his party colleagues Maurice Morrow and Arlene Foster now intend to table a motion in Stormont on November 5th in support of Mr Brush.
Their sympathies may lie with this former UDR soldier. However, it is important to point out that, as stated by Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuiv “this is a lot bigger than Gerry because this in my view is a major step back for a peace process that Gerry bought into and that we all bought into and where we were putting the past behind us and building a better future for the young children”.
Following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in1998, both Republican and Loyalist prisoners were released under the early release scheme. For many, it was a hard pill to swallow, but it was also a major factor in allowing the peace process to move forward. The Weston Park Accord was then negotiated and signed in 2001 by both the Irish and British Governments. Paragraph 20 of the Weston Park Accord dealt with a relatively small number of OTR’s (On the Runs) and ensured equality of treatment for those who were not in prison when the Good Friday Agreement was signed and would therefore not benefit from the early release scheme. It was also an effective approach to dealing with what has been termed ‘anomalies’ which might arise from time to time as each case was dealt with.
Although both governments agreed to implement paragraph 20 before the end of 2001, the British Government did not proceed with the matter until the issue of decommissioning had been resolved. When the legislation required to implement paragraph 20 was expected to be passed through Westminster in 2005, the British Government then attempted to include British State Forces in the legislation. This was unacceptable to Sinn Féin and the SDLP. Peter Hain, the British Secretary of State at that time, withdrew the legislation in 2006 at the request of Gerry Adams. The matter was then left in abeyance.
Gerry McGeough’s arrest and incarceration, at the behest of the DUP are a direct result of paragraph 20 not being implemented by the British Government. The fact that the British Government can so easily and so willingly violate an international agreement is a very serious matter and one which the DUP including Mr Brush have ignored completely.
The DUP is entitled to their opinions on the imprisonment of Gerry McGeough. However, if Peter Robinson, Maurice Morrow and Arlene Foster are genuine about justice being served on an equal basis, why have they never called for investigations into the murders of eighty-three innocent and unarmed civilians perpetrated by British soldiers, RUC, UDR and loyalist death squads in collusion with British Forces between 1970 and 1997 in County Tyrone?
What did Mr Brush do as a UDR soldier? Maybe we should call for people in Tyrone who came across Mr Brush manning a UDR checkpoint if they would like to bring forward any complaints they might have against him. Snow White comes to mind?
Gerry McGeough was charged and convicted in a Diplock court of having allegedly shot and wounded Mr Brush in 1981. That same year on July 9th 1981, Nora McCabe was murdered after being hit by a plastic bullet fired by the RUC. When Nora’s family applied for charges to be brought against the RUC officers involved in her murder and who then committed perjury in the follow-up investigation, Crown Judge Coghlin denied the application stating that too much time had passed and any charges preferred after so many years would be an abuse of process and dismissed. However, when Gerry McGeough’s case was brought before Crown Judge Coghlin, he began by first excluding from court representatives from the British-Irish Rights Watch and the Committee for the Administration of Justice and then proceeded to apply a different set of rules to the case of Gerry McGeough.
Have the DUP ever questioned this decision or called for those RUC officers to be prosecuted? The DUP should consider raising a motion on these issues and then lead the call for justice and equality by insisting that members of the UDR, RUC and British Army are immediately investigated and prosecuted and when found guilty of ‘historic’ offences perpetrated prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, they should serve their sentences with the possibility of applying for early release after two years under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Of course, the circumstances surrounding Gerry’s arrest in 2007 followed by three and a half years of continuous delays in allowing the actual trial to proceed raises many questions as to the motives for his incarceration and the credibility of the evidence produced, which of course included reading a chapter from a novel. Would any of the evidence produced and used against Gerry have been accepted if he had not been tried in a Diplock Court?
Gerry McGeough has already suffered two heart attacks and has six stents inserted. There have been a number of incidents within Maghaberry prison surrounding the administration of Gerry’s daily heart medicine, vital to his survival. These incidents can be verified. The most recent incident occurred on Monday 1st October 2012 and was not resolved until the afternoon of Tuesday 2nd October 2012. When these incidents occur, those involved in the process of having the situation resolved are well aware of the stress caused not only to Gerry and his family but to all those prisoners and their families who are regularly affected by incidents of medical neglect. Mr Brush and his DUP colleagues have never once shown any concern towards the medical neglect or treatment of Republican prisoners within Maghaberry or acknowledged in any way how stressful these incidents can be. Mr Morrow, a DUP colleague of Mr Brush on Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council has repeatedly attempted to discredit anyone who raises concerns over medical care, the living conditions or the overall treatment of Republican prisoners in Maghaberry. He has questioned the reliability of statements by prisoners who are either on dirty protest in Maghaberry or in the case of Gerry McGeough who is not on protest, but who finds himself in the middle of a dirty protest. Mr Morrow has never asked for prison video footage to be broadcast across the world. The DUP have never attempted to resolve the situation within Maghaberry and they have never raised concerns as to why, after the 2010 agreement, the dirty protest continues.
Gerry McGeough may be released after serving two years under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. However, when the British Government can so freely violate international agreements with impunity, can we really be sure that they will adhere to the terms agreed in 1998? If Gerry is not released after serving two years, will this further violation of an international agreement be raised by the DUP?
When politicians and public representatives throughout Ireland, America and Spain who would not normally be associated with Irish Republicanism begin to question and raise concerns about what is happening within the peace process or question the motives surrounding the imprisonment of Gerry McGeough and the abuse of human rights against many others, surely there must be something seriously wrong with the situation we find ourselves in. In their outrage at the council motion being passed, the DUP focus on the inclusion of Gerry McGeough in the motion and on the health of Mr Brush in dealing with a stressful situation. Have they raised any concerns about the health of Marian Price? Have they raised concerns as to how Martin Corey can remain imprisoned without trial since 2010? Did they raise concerns about the stressful situation Martin Corey and his family found themselves in when former British Secretary of State Owen Paterson decided on 9th July 2012 that Martin was not to be released as he was about to walk free? Martin’s appeal against this decision was due to have been heard in September. It has not yet been heard. Why? The DUP chose to avoid too much reference to the cases of Martin and Marian.
In their efforts to dismantle the Good Friday Agreement the DUP have consistently refused to dedicate themselves to reconciliation, tolerance, mutual trust and the protection of human rights for all. They will pose for the cameras and travel the world seeking investment. They will promote themselves as honest law-abiding decent citizens. But behind the fabricated tales of goodwill and the veil of deception and political myths is the reality of Unionist bigotry, sectarianism and vindictiveness as experienced, not only by Gerry McGeough and his family, but by many others, fourteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
The DUP have little to offer the peace process. They built their party upon the rants of Ian Paisley and they can only ever thrive within an environment of bigotry and sectarianism.
Northern Chair Free Gerry McGeough Campaign
SAVE THE DATE!
The speakers for the October 27th Public Protest Meeting for Marian Price, Martin Corey and Gerry McGeough will be:
MC - Jim Sullivan, President Brooklyn County AOH
Martin Corey – Jane Enright, Chairperson National Irish Freedom Committee
Gerry McGeough – Martin Galvin, The Brehon Law Society
Marian Price – Dan Dennehey, NY State AOH Freedom for All Ireland Chairman
The Secret Evidence – Sandy Boyer, Radio Free Eireann
There will also be music from Peadar Hickey, Chris Finnegan, Ray Collins and Rachel Fitzgerald
October 25, 2012: Gerry McGeough Calls On DUP to Condemn anti-Catholic Sectarian Behavior
Gerry McGeough once again calls on the DUP to condemn anti-Catholic sectarian behavior in East Tyrone and for them to call for the prosecution of those security forces who have been involved in the cold blooded murder of innocent Irish civilians prior to the Good Friday Agreement.
In spite of the DUP’s continued persecution against him, Gerry remains an undaunted Irish Patriot and Catholic
Statement by Gerry McGeough, October 25, 2012
The constant political persecution directed against me by DUP extremists is quite extraordinary. Never has any Republican prisoner had to endure such a prolonged venomous onslaught. The latest outburst by Nigel Dodds, Arlene Foster and Maurice Morrow, as reported on the front page of the Newsletter on May 23, 2012 is just another example of this.
I contend that this obsession with me has nothing to do with justice or even politics, but is rooted in a near satanic hatred of the Catholic Faith, of which I am perceived to be a defender by some of these extremists. Much of this can be traced to October 2010, when the Dungannon Free Presbyterian sect founded by Ian Paisley and with significant DUP membership, placed a paid advertisement in the Dungannon based Tyrone Courier newspaper, which described the Catholic mass as "blasphemous fable" and the Pope as "a man of sin" and the "antichrist".
Incredibly, the Tyrone Courier published the ad, and Catholics, who constitute overwhelmingly the majority of the population in Tyrone, were outraged. As a member of the AOH in Tyrone, I was approached to give leadership on this issue, and I did. In the first instance I brought a complaint to the Advertising Standard Agency and, amid much local publicity, asked Unionist politicians in the area to condemn this type of anti-Catholic sectarianism outright. They refused to do so, but they were clearly and seriously rattled by the fact that Catholics would no longer tolerate this "croppies lie down" attitude.
In their rage, they have run a very personalized hate campaign against me ever since, which puts self-righteous hysterical media tirades into context. Bearing all this in mind, I now once again call upon Arlene Foster and Maurice Morrow to condemn this type of anti-Catholic sectarianism in East Tyrone without reservation. Should they fail to do so, they must stand indicted before the world as unrepentant sectarian bigots with whom civilized society should have no truck.
10/25/12 - PRETTY MUCH SUMS UP THE DUP
Excerpts taken from speech at National Reconciliation in Ireland Venue – The Need For Uncomfortable Conversations – 10/24/12.
“This summer political unionism singularly failed to give leadership and say or do the right things to confront sectarianism and the violence which it provoked.
Instead of going out front and forcefully defending the principles of equality and mutual respect the leadership of political unionism and specifically the DUP caved in to the lowest common denominators of sectarian triumphalism.
The last five years have been a very slow learning curve on equality and respect for the DUP.
Peter Robinson’s recent outbursts betray a real discomfort in trying to represent both unionists, republicans and nationalists. He needs to stop talking out of both sides of his mouth, and get with the programme.
The DUP leadership needs to get out of its time warp, get into real time, and start doing grown up politics with the rest of us”.
Fianna Fail TD vows to bring McGeough Justice Campaign to Westminster
Published on Saturday 20 October 2012 16:45
POLITICIANS and representatives of a number of Republican groups and parties along with family and friends have attended a Gerry McGeough Justice Campaign Function at the Marble Arch in Dublin.
Speaking on the night, Fianna Fáil TD Mr Éamon Ó Cuiv said the justice campaign was of vital political importance to the peace process.
“I have to say that this is a lot bigger than Gerry because this in my view is a major step back for a peace process that Gerry bought into and that we all bought into and where we were putting the past behind us and building a better future for the young children”, he said.
Video: Éamon Ó Cuiv TD Speaking At The Gerry McGeough Justice Campaign Ballad Session October 12, 2012
Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuiv Speaks At Gerry McGeough Justice Campaign Function.
by Damian Herron - north of Ireland Chairman for the Free Gerry McGeough Campaign on Monday, October 15, 2012
The Gerry McGeough Justice Campaign held a very successful night at the Marble Arch in Dublin. The event was supported and attended by activists representing a number of Republican political groups and parties.
Proceedings were chaired by Mick Halpin and a statement by Gerry McGeough issued from Maghaberry prison was read out by Brian Halpin. Gerry’s wife Maria and their four children were also in attendance and their daughter Una gave a performance on her bagpipes before thanking everyone for their help and support. On behalf of the McGeough family and the Gerry McGeough Justice Campaign, an elm plaque was presented to guest speaker and Fianna Fáil TD Mr Éamon Ó Cuiv in appreciation of his work on behalf of the campaign.
Speaking on the night, Éamon O Cuiv stated:
“Maria, Una and the family, friends, I am delighted to be here and I am humbled by the beautiful presentation made to me. Many years ago in the nineties I spent a considerable time over and back to Britain and up to the north of Ireland visiting prisoners and I have to say that with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement I thought that part of my life was over. However, a lady that is not here tonight, Moya St.Ledger, who had been in correspondence with me for many years, contacted me about Gerry’s situation. I have to say that in the beginning I was doubtful about whether this could have happened or not. But what we do know is that many years after the peace process, Gerry who had been openly living both in the south and the north was lifted, brought to court and despite an agreement between the Irish and British governments signed in 2001 was convicted to prison for twenty years. I have to say that this is a lot bigger than Gerry because this in my view is a major step back for a peace process that Gerry bought into and that we all bought into and where we were putting the past behind us and building a better future for the young children. When I heard about what had happened I was contacted by a lot of people working in the campaign and I would like to salute all of you who take time and effort to work on this campaign because it is numbers that will win in the end.
“Now, what we are doing at the moment is that I have visited Gerry three times and we are visiting him again on the 5th November. I went the first two times on my own. The last time I had three of my colleagues from Fianna Fáil with me and we have now set up an ad hoc group with the Oireachtas. We have a lot of Independent TD’s and Sinn Féin have indicated they are going to join us as well as my four colleagues from Fianna Fáil and out intention is to keep trying to raise the profile of this issue as well as the case of Marian Price until we get a resolution of it.
“I gave a promise at the beginning and it is a promise I will honour. I said I could not go every month, I did not have the time but we would go every few months and we would keep coming and keep coming and keep coming and every time we go it upsets the whole system.
“The first time they tried to refuse me on a TD and a public representative visit. They had to give in on that. The first time they kept me a long time at the gate before I was let in and they held me for about an hour before they allowed me to see Gerry. The last day we went in, they opened the prison gates and allowed us to drive the car in. So it obviously does have an effect. But it also has an effect if you write letters, individual letters particularly, to the secretary of state in Britain, to the British Ambassador, to the Minister of Justice in the north of Ireland because if they think a lot of people are in the campaign they are much more likely to listen.
“We are looking at a number of different options. I have met the secretary of state, I have met the Minister of Justice in the north of Ireland, I have met the British Ambassador and we will continue to do that work. But we are also organising now, if we can succeed in doing so within the next month, a meeting in Westminster with the help of a Labour party MP, to highlight the issue right in the home of British democracy. So we are working on a campaign and what I would really like to do is to see that we are coordinating the campaign with all of you who are working so hard on the ground and who are giving us such support.
“To Maria, for all we can guarantee, we can’t tell you the release date. We don’t know. What we do know is that from previous experience, if we keep at this long enough, we will succeed, because it just becomes too much hassle after a while for them and in the end we will manage to get those gates to open.
“I also want to say that Gerry is in regular contact. He gets to ring me now and again for about two minutes on the phone and we have a quick chat and I would like to record here that many times when Gerry rings or when he has met me in the prison, he has spent more time talking about the plight of his fellow prisoners, particularly those who are on the dirty protest, than he has about his own situation. Through Gerry’s work it is our intention and I have asked to meet the prisoners who are on the dirty protest the next time we go to Maghaberry and I have already put in the request to the authorities to do that. We did discuss their situation with the prison authorities on our last visit and please God we will be able to do that as well. Because from my point of view I hope Gerry gets out soon, but until we deal with all of the prisoner issues, we have the case of Marian Price and I have visited her twice, I will keep at this work until all of these issues are resolved because having got involved in it again I’m going to see it out this time to the end.
“I would also just like to mention Pat Ramsey, the MLA for the SDLP who has done a lot of work behind the scenes in highlighting the case and who has been very helpful to the likes of myself in terms of getting into the process and who actually managed to get the prison rules changed in the north of Ireland to get TD’s accepted as public representatives for entitlement to prison visits.
“Can I just say before I finish, I think Una Geough, she’s the star of the show. I have got to know Una very well on her visits down to Leinster House and to speak at press conferences and we have a budding politician here. We will see her elected yet. She has been an absolutely fantastic as an ambassador for her father and for her mother and I can say she is an absolutely brilliant little girl and long may you continue to do the good work.
“Can I finally say it is amazing in life, you do things because you believe in a thing and you often get fantastic rewards out of it. For me, the reward out of this campaign has been getting to know some of the most fantastic people I have ever met. Unassuming people, ordinary people, people who had no particular reason to be engaged in the campaign except they saw an injustice and they felt that injustice should be put to right. To all of the friends I have made and to the McGeough family who I have got to know, it has been a really enriching experience and I would ask everybody to support the committee in whatever way you can and to thank you all for the work you have done, for your patient support and for your continuing support”.
Libertad para Gerry
October 6, 2012
The Free Gerry McGeough Campaign has received correspondence from the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland. Archbishop Charles Brown who is well informed of Gerry's case. Archbishop Brown also took the opportunity to acknowledge Gerry's commitment to his Catholic faith and in particular his courage in defending the right to life of the unborn. He welcomed Gerry's support for the pursuit of a peaceful and reconciled society as a sign of a better future for us all.
Angela Nelson on Republican Political prisoner Gerry McGeough: ‘Humbled but Heartened’
Today Sunday 23rd September 2012 I visited Gerry Mc Geough in Maghaberry Prison. Last night I did not sleep well as I was consumed with thoughts as to what I might expect from this prison system and what condition Gerry and the other prisoners might be in. I had visited many prisons over the years but this was my first visit to Maghaberry.
I met his wife and four beautiful children in the car park, while waiting on the mini-bus to take us up to the prison gates. There was a shop at the car park still run by the Quakers, as they have provided that service to the families of prisoners for as long as I can remember.
I looked at the faces of this woman and her children who have been making this journey every week now for almost 20 months and I was so impressed by them. Maria was so pleased that I had taken the trouble to show any interest in her husband’s case and that I had taken some time out of my day to visit Gerry. I felt humbled.
The children being children were bouncing about with excitement; they could not wait to see their daddy. One hour a week these little children get to see their daddy, the man who is obviously the centre of their world and today they were happy to share that hour with me if it meant I could help them get their daddy home for good.
Una aged 11 their oldest daughter said to me, “Angela, wouldn’t it be great if we got daddy home for Christmas”. Other children have “Santa” lists for bikes, phones and other material stuff these children want their daddy home! Four children, Una 11,Cormac 10,Lorcan 8 and little Nora who is only 3years old, more than half of her life her daddy has been incarcerated.
As I entered the prison and because it was my first visit I had to sit in a chair to have my photograph taken, and my index fingerprint scanned, this was then put through a machine and I was provided with a pass which would enable me to proceed to the next step. At the next window I had to show my photographic I.D and the pass, which was put through the machine again and I had to place my index finger on another scanner. Here Maria left some money for her husband and Una
went to the desk to leave in Gerry’s parcel, a couple of books and new trainers. We were given access to a locker with a key to place our personal possessions as the only thing you were allowed past this point was pound coins to buy tea etc.
We went through a metal detector scanner similar to an airport and all of us; children included were frisked by the screws. At the next stage we had to stand on individual squares while a sniffer dog went around each person in a line then back around us a second time. Yet again through another door, present pass and scan finger again, before going through to the visiting room to see Gerry.
His children squealed with delight and ran into their daddy’s arms, Maria’s face lit up with delight and she kissed and hugged her husband. I stood for several minutes looking around me taking in this area, looking at the faces of the prisoners, their visitors, the whole surroundings. It was an open plan room with booths
similar to a fast food outlet, each prisoner to one booth all waiting eagerly to see the familiar faces of their loved ones. All of the prisoners looked very pale and gaunt, long beards and long hair that reminded me of how the men looked on the “blanket protest”.
I was shocked and very saddened to think that these men are going through exactly the same experience that we Republicans thought was behind us for ever. I introduced myself to a couple of the men, Terry Taylor and Alan Lundy and told them that we (All of us) Republicans will do what we can to highlight the injustices and torture that they are going through and we would Unite on this single issue of supporting our POWs.
I sat down with Gerry Mc Geough and we locked heads, knowing I had one hour with him to tell him what was happening in the “Outside” world and he had the same amount of time to tell me about his world. I told Gerry how worried I was because Republicanism was fragmented; there were so many different groups and many of us who thought and who felt that we had done enough to move us towards our end goal, had taken our eye of the ball and believed and followed a leadership that has let everyone down. I said there was apathy outside and that many people were genuinely afraid that “administrative detention” that has been used to remove people who spoke out against the injustice and abuse was going to be implemented more frequently if not challenged. I said many people were not aware of the “Dirty Protest” currently happening in Maghaberry or the conditions the POWs were living in due to a media blackout, and although there is a growing number of politicians across Ireland on a cross-party basis who have thrown their weight behind many of the campaigns and are challenging what is happening, those we would have expected to take the lead on the issue of prisoners appear to be doing nothing more than playing lip service.
Gerry Mc Geough took hold of my two hands and said “Angela, tell our people out there to stop it, No more Croppy Boy Lie Down” This is our time, our country, it has always been ours, we just need to take it. I am pro-peace agreement, he said, but we need someone to re-negotiate the terms. We have had 14 years waiting to see a difference for the Nationalist people in their daily lives and none has come. Someone needs to tell the Unionist people we have a right to live here, this is our birth right. He said all of those people that died for their country did not do so in vain and we should not be diverted by the smaller things we should be paying attention to the bigger things that are happening around us, to us. He finished with saying “When you stand up to any bullies, they back down”.
My head was spinning when I left there; here was a man who has been incarcerated for 20 months, separated from his wife and 4 children, telling me that we are a strong Republican community and that it was still within our grasp. We have the power it we have the “hearts and minds” to demand the changes.
UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL.
October 1, 2012
" We should not allow this to slip through unchallenged in the 6 Counties. Stormont devolved policing and justice to itself and shouldn't be let disclaim responsibility for enactment of this"
Is this the Dream to Reality presented during visits to America?
by Damian Herron
North of Ireland Chairman - Free Gerry McGeough Campaign
Monday, October 1, 2012
The Good Friday Agreement Declaration of Support (paragraph 4) by participants in the multi-party negotiations:
“We reaffirm our total and absolute commitment to exclusively democratic and peaceful means of resolving differences on political issues, and our opposition to any use or threat of force by others for any political purpose, whether in regard to this agreement or otherwise.”
Gerry McGeough chose a democratic and peaceful means without threat or force as an Independent Republican candidate in the 2007 Assembly elections.
This was met with the reality of imprisonment in Maghaberry. A reality used as a threat against anyone who might speak out. A deterrent used against anyone who might see through the political smokescreens.
Gerry’s arrest on the 8th March 2007 and his imprisonment since 18th February 2011 is the reality of how the peace process is developing in the British occupied counties of Ireland. It is based upon injustice and inequality.
Subdued mutterings against this injustice presented the opportunity for the British and their Dissident Unionist backwoodsmen to extend their sectarian tentacles of oppression and snatch Irish Republicans off the street at will.
Is this the Dream to Reality presented during visits to America?
Libertad para Gerry
Immediate Action Required before 9/28/12
The UN Human Rights Council is in current session from September 10 to 28.
Please write a letter to each of the individual members of the UN Human Rights Council,
so these officials are fully aware of these terrible and precedent-setting cases. It is important to urge the Council members both to advocate and to take action on behalf of these individuals wrongfully imprisoned.
Gerry McGeough, Marian Price and Martin Corey.
Names of Council Members who should receive copies of the letter individually:
Steffen Kongstad -- Manuel B. Dengo Dengo -- Laura Dupuy -- Elissa Golberg -- Mr. Juan Jose Ignacio Gomez Camacho -- Peter Gooderham -- Remigiusz A. Henczel -- Dell Higgie -- Lazlo Horvath -- Betty E. King -- Jan Knutsson -- Dante Martinelli -- Laura Mirachian -- Nicolas Niemtchinow -- Pedro Oyarce -- Hamid Ali Rao -- François Roux -- Agustín Santos Maraver --Hanns Heinrich Schumacher -- Katerina Sequensová -- Steffen Smidt -- Christian Strohal -- Peter Woolcott
760 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017
Make sure you send a copy to:
Justice Minister David Ford
Department of Justice
WE WANT OUR DADDY HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
Won't you please help?
Gerry McGeough's wife and 4 children at the Civil Rights March in Tyrone, August 26, 2012
Gerry McGeough, a 53 year old teacher, published author and former Tyrone County President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, is a native of the Brantry area of County Tyrone, Ireland. Married with four young children, Gerry returned to Ireland in 1996. He then graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an Honours Degree in History and attained a Higher Diploma in Education from University College Dublin.
As a former Ard Chomlairle member of Sinn Féin, Gerry was an architect of the Irish peace process and continues to support a peaceful and political solution to achieving a United Ireland.
Gerry however, for a number of reasons, became disenchanted with the political direction of Sinn Féin at that time, in particular because of the stance taken by Sinn Féin in their support of abortion and he left the party in 2001.
On March 7, 2007 he stood as an Independent Republican MLA candidate in the Stormont Assembly elections. The following day as he left the count centre in Omagh, he was surrounded by police officers and arrested.
The timing of his arrest, nine years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement raised many questions as to the motives. In an attempt to explain the unusual circumstances surrounding his arrest, the PSNI stated that for many years they had been looking for Gerry, but could not locate him. However, since 1999, Gerry had been travelling freely to and from Northern Ireland. He was stopped at vehicle check points many times, called for jury service on two occasions and applied for planning permission to build his family home in Brantry. Their children attend the local school. Throughout his election campaign as a high profile candidate, Gerry made numerous appearances on both television and live radio programmes.
After four years of legal limbo, Gerry was eventually charged with having allegedly wounded part-time UDR soldier Sammy Brush, possession of firearms and membership of the IRA. These alleged offences date back to 1975 and 1981.
Gerry, prior to his incarceration on February 18, 2011, suffered two heart attacks and now has six stents inserted. He was convicted of these alleged offences in a non-jury Diplock Court in February 2011, imprisoned in HMP Maghaberry on February 18, 2011 and then in April 2011 he was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment.
Donations to help Gerry’s wife and 4 children can be made as follows:
Through PayPal on www.freegerry.com web site – click on the DONATE BUTTON.
Checks or money order made out to:
Helen McClafferty Hepworth - C/O of the Gerry McGeough Family Fund
3 B River Road
Nutley, NJ 07110
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Office
Gerry McGeough’s arrest and incarceration was politically motivated and he should be released immediately and allowed to go home to his wife and four children. Mr. McGeough supports the peace process and was one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement.
The Age-Old Dissident Unionist Political Custom Of Hiding Like Cowards And Scurrying Like Rats Has Already Come Into Play
by Damian Herron
on Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 6:41pm
- North of Ireland Chairman - Free Gerry McGeough Campaign
Dissident Unionist Politicians manipulate a situation in their determination to sow the seeds of future conflict and a display of bigotry and sectarianism by their expendables is followed with riots, plastic bullets and water cannon.
Yet another political smokescreen is fabricated as this scenario is depicted as giving the wrong impression of the British occupied counties of Ireland. It is portrayed as a situation which has apparently presented us with a golden opportunity to resolve future problems in the interests of all and as an opportunity which could lead to a final resolution of age-old problems that tie us all to the past.
Did the arrest of Gerry McGeough within twenty-four hours of the Assembly elections in 2007 not create the wrong impression of the apparent progress that had been made and present a golden opportunity to immediately resolve future problems that would tie us all to the past and help prevent the situation which now exists within the occupied counties?
The votes were still being counted when the British Government at the behest of their Dissident Unionist Politicians sent out their own personal message of oppression specifically directed towards Gerry McGeough and his family. They clearly demonstrated their unwillingness and their inability to honour international political agreements. The old school Dissident Unionist Politicians are simply incapable of functioning within any agreement that does not embrace bigotry and sectarianism.
The incarceration of Gerry McGeough on alleged offences dating back thirty-seven years, the internment without trial of Martin Corey, the internment of Marian Price on charges that were dismissed and then magically re-instated, the riots, the plastic bullets and the water cannon represent the reality that continues to exist within the occupied counties fourteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
This scenario represents a political tolerance towards the actions of Dissident Unionist Politicians and a reluctance or inability to effectively hold them to account for their actions. They are permitted to do as they please to satisfy their ruthless and incessant desire to persecute, oppress and discriminate against Irish Republicans. Gerry McGeough and his family know this all too well.
The age-old Dissident Unionist Political custom of hiding like cowards and scurrying like rats behind political smokescreens and absurd statements has already been brought into play while their expendables are once again abandoned and left to suffer the consequences.
ATTORNEY AT LAW
BRONX, NEW YORK, USA
113-117 Donegal Street
Belfast, Northern Ireland
August 24, 2012
SITTING STILL FOR INTERNMENT
It was deeply moving to read your double page coverage about the publication of “In the Footsteps of Ann” and glimpses into the special hardships suffered by Republican women prisoners.
However it was troubling to see the photograph of a teenage Marian Price smiling from behind the bars of a British prison cell, and know that almost forty years later, she is again being brutally mistreated by the British, under the same IRA charge.
Forty years ago Republicans vowed to “Bring them Home” and beat British intransigence to bring Marian and Dolours back to that “Welcome home” banner in Armagh prison and finally home to Belfast under the pardon since shredded by Owen Paterson.
Today Marian like Martin Corey is held under a policy of Internment by license and denied the right to see or refute any secret information or “closed material” rubber-stamped for Paterson by Ford’s parole commissioners. When a British judge ruled that this star-chamber set-up was a breach of European Law, Paterson overruled him and ordered Martin Corey kept at Maghaberry until the colonial secretary could get a ruling more to his liking.
The British think they can disregard demands made by Sinn Fein and the SDLP for Marian’s release, so long as these parties remain tethered within Stormont and attend constabulary board meetings as visible tokens of assent for British policies.
The British calculate that Sinn Fein is now so tightly anchored by its places at Stormont that the party can no longer break ranks with the crown and walk out, even if it means sitting still for Internment. If Sinn Fein sits still for Internment now, then expect policies like Internment by License or Internment by Remand to be methodically used against more Republicans.
Are Republicans still capable of the type of the bold initiative and political leadership necessary to “bring them home” and end Internment? Were all the years of suffering and struggle about becoming reluctant accomplices in an acceptable level of Internment?
September 2, 2012
Happy Birthday, Gerry McGeough
It truly makes me sad to see this current picture of my personal friend of 20 years, Gerry McGeough. The British may have incarcerated him unjustly, but they have not broken his spirit. God bless you Gerry, and your supporters in the USA have not forgotten you.
And Gerry, we are all thinking about ya !! — at
Statement from Gerry McGeough –
“No Welcome in Ireland for the English Establishment”
from Maghaberry Prison,
August 27, 2012
by Helen McClafferty
Gerry McGeough sends his congratulations to the organizers of the Tyrone Civil Rights March that took place Sunday, August 26, 2012. Gerry said we must all continue to stand up for justice and democracy and there is no welcome in Ireland for the English establishment and they should slither back to their own swamp of a country. All the English empire has brought to Ireland, and other countries, is misery, conflict and evil. The sooner the English empire becomes ancient history, the better for the world. Long live democracy!
We must continue to keep the pressure on the British Government to release Gerry McGeough, Marain Price and Martin Corey.
The words to this song and the courage of the people who marched in the Tyrone Civil Rights March on Sunday should give us the encouragement and strength to continue to do our part in helping to put an end to British misrule in Ireland once and for all.
August 26, 2012
"WHY ARE THEY DOING IT?"
The great Irish human rights' campaigner, prolific author, editor, poet and academic, Monsignor Dr. Raymond Murray, said recently “All of the wrongs and injustices that I have campaigned against for over forty years still exist today.”
So why are they doing it? Why are the British subjecting Irish men and women to abuse, who have the temerity to want them out of Ireland? Why is this desire regarded as a sin and their non-lethal activities regarded as crimes? What is it that people around the world can see to which the British are blind? What kind of mindset allows a British Government of whatever political hue to continue allowing human rights abuse on a grand scale? How is it possible for British judges in Northern Ireland to be overruled by a Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when it would be virtually impossible for the same to happen in England or Wales? How come that 14 years after the Good Friday Agreement reached the Statute Book, Irish men and women can be hauled into prison without charge or an Irishman can be sentenced to 20 years for a shooting incident over 30 years ago during an armed conflict between the British Army and an historic Irish Republican army in which both he and his victim were injured yet no-one was killed?
It is possible, dear friends, because the English and Unionists within the British Establishment, whether in Northern Ireland or in London have an ancient mindset reinforced by the fact that we, the British, have sovereignty in Northern Ireland so UK law prevails ... or should do but for the ancient mindset regarding the Irish people.
This mindset formed over centuries is unchanged by the Good Friday Agreement. It is a mindset so old and so deeply ingrained in the English it could now be part of our genetic make-up. It renders it impossible for any member of the English ruling class to think differently unless they are determined to think differently. That determination is absent in all but a tiny number of English. It is born of discovering how we came to 'own' Ireland. It springs from the outrage which is triggered by that discovery. An English man or woman who has undergone this life-changing experience is worth his/ her weight in platinum, so rare they are on the ground.
The English attitude to the Irish people remains unchanged, despite acknowledging that a large proportion of the great writers and poets who produced the canon of English literature had Irish roots. Around the world the English work alongside Irish engineers, teachers, lawyers, bankers, businessmen and women, doctors, surgeons and scientists yet the view of the English ruling class of the Irish remains unchanged. What is that view? It is this: that the Irish are a curious sub-species of Homo Sapiens, the Homo without the sapientia, so evident in the English. The Irish are to be regarded as untrustworthy, deeply tribal therefore still somewhat primitive. The Irish are a people who cannot see sense; they cannot understand the logic and practicability of law and the English way of doing things. The Irish are unpredictable, uncontrolled, and therefore uncontrollable.
May I bring a little history into this? The English genetic proclivity to regard the Irish as an unknown, uncontrollable entity can be traced far back in English history. By looking at a tiny piece of the mosaic helps one to see what is happening now in Northern Ireland in a wider context.
My great x 13 grandfather, Sir Anthony St Leger KG, was a 16th century lawyer and courtier at the court of Henry VIII. In 1536 the King sent him out to Ireland to do a survey before Ireland was Crown territory. Sir Anthony spent 13 months travelling around Ireland sending reports about the place and the people to King Henry. After he returned to London, he was commissioned by the King to draw up a policy to bring Ireland under the Crown which he did in 1540. In one of his reports Sir Anthony wrote this: (I have rendered the Tudor spelling into modern English)
"... for Your Majesty, unless it (Ireland) be peopled with others than be there already and certain fortresses there built and warded, if it be gotten one day it is lost the next."
Lloyd, a contemporary of Sir Anthony went even further when recording the life of my ancestor: After Sir Anthony was made Ireland's first Viceroy Lloyd recorded:
"Several important Acts (introduced by Anthony) were made law. The most rational and equitable laws were those of England, but too rational to be imposed on the brutish Irish. Therefore our knight, considering that they could not relish such exact laws, to live or to be ruled by them, immediately enacted laws such as agreed with their capacity rather than such as were dictated by his ability..."
The notion that the Irish did not have 'the capacity' to 'relish' English law is still at the very heart of English thinking about the Irish, including the thinking of our very English Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Sir Anthony had recognized that the Irish would be impossible to control, but he was a clever lawyer. He drew up a policy called "Grant Re-grant" which enabled him to negotiate a deal with the majority of great Irish chieftains who accepted an English title in return for handing over their lands to Henry who then handed them back to them to be held as servants under the Crown. Two great Irish chieftains in the North held out, O'Neill of Tyrone and O'Donnell of Tyrconnell.
The Irish don't need me to tell them that the descendants of those two great chieftains and all their collateral branches remained in the north of Ireland after the Flight of the Earls and are still the bedrock of Irish resistance today. The wholesale shipping in of Scottish Protestants in the 17th c. was a testament to their resistance. It was the English admission that they could not cope. The building of fortresses (including the MI5 building in Palace Bks), the stationing of British armed forces, the abuse of British law, the imprisoning of sick republicans, the stalling of the handing over to the Republic of Ireland territory which belongs to the whole Irish people, our absolute refusal to acknowledge that we should have long withdrawn from a country where we were never welcome is a mystery to people all round the world. Yet, every Conservative government to this day knows that everyone else is wrong. The sense that "Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom as much as my constituency is. Northern Ireland is as British as Finchley" (Margaret Thatcher 1981) is still secretly held by Tory politicians though it is now politically incorrect to say so.
As long as we have sovereignty over those six counties, the veil of blindness cannot be lifted. It is a mindset, and for the majority of ordinary people from the top to the bottom of society, a mindset can only be changed if circumstances change. Very few English experience the profound intellectual U-turn as I did when in my 20s I began discovering the truth about our presence in Ireland.
The only way forward beyond the imprisonment of Gerry McGeough, Marian Price and Martin Corey and a host of others who do not have campaigns behind them is to continue reiterating unceasingly that British sovereignty in the north of Ireland must end immediately, not next year, not next month, not tomorrow but TODAY. A border poll must be held TODAY involving the people of the whole of Ireland and the whole of the Irish Diaspora around the world. The GFA provides for a border poll, but it should be accompanied by a poll in the Republic and in the worldwide Irish Diaspora.
To the Rt Hon. David Cameron, our Prime Minister, I say this:
IT IS YOUR MORAL DUTY TO HAND OVER THE SIX IRISH COUNTIES OVER WHICH WE STILL CLAIM SOVEREIGNTY NOW, MR CAMERON, RIGHT NOW. IN THE NEXT SESSION OF PARLIAMENT IT IS YOUR DUTY TO INTRODUCE A BILL TO ENABLE US TO WITHDRAW FROM IRELAND. I CALL ON YOU PERSONALLY TO ACCEPT IT IS YOUR DUTY TO US THE BRITISH PEOPLE, TO THE IRISH PEOPLE HERE, IN IRELAND, AND AROUND THE WORLD, AND TO THE THOUSANDS OF IRISH WHO HAVE BEEN KILLED OVER THE CENTURIES SO THAT WE COULD RETAIN OUR GRIP ON IRELAND. IT IS ALSO YOUR DUTY TO GOD, MR CAMERON. WHY SHOULD BE OBVIOUS: BECAUSE RETAINING THE NORTH OF IRELAND IS SINFUL.
Moya St Leger
24 August 2012
Guest writer Martin Galvin with a lengthy piece on the British state practice of Internment currently in use against republicans.
It is said that 'those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat its mistakes.' Had George Santayana looked to Irish history, he might have added that those who fail to learn the lessons of British rule are condemned to see its injustices repeated.
Internment is again in vogue with the British colonial secretary presiding. Once Internment was a claim made only by supporters of Marian Price and Martin Corey. As Paterson happily ignored all judicial rulings or medical appeals for their release, the word Internment came to be accepted more and more widely, and is now repeated by Sinn Fein and SDLP members.
Internment by license is the most obvious but not most prevalent method of Interment Paterson now practices. Decades ago the British crafted catch-all criteria which empowered crown forces to intern anyone they imagined “likely to act in a manner prejudicial to good order.” Simply stated, internees could be held indefinitely for what they might do.
Today the British have updated Internment by remand. Republicans can be denied bail where a member of the constabulary says the suspect might “re-offend”. Simply stated those presumed innocent, and thus presumed to have done nothing, are refused bail because a constabulary member presumes they are likely to do it again. Skeptical Republicans note that an increasing number of well known activists from non-politically correct Republican groups have swelled the ranks of those conveniently removed from the streets by this policy of Internment by remand.
Some will say it does not manner. Today Martin McGuinness stands alongside Peter Robinson. Sinn Fein and the SDLP hold places within the British administration. Only a comparative few are interned. Why not let bygone images of Internment be bygones, forgotten and replaced by photos of former internees or Blanketmen at constabulary board or partnership meetings?
Is this history best forgotten? Are there lessons from Internment which Republicans must learn or else be condemned to see repeated under new terms and shapes tailored to today’s British strategy?
Article continues, click here for full article...
Time Political Leaders Stand Up For Catholic/Nationalist Majority
by Helen McClafferty on Tuesday, August 14, 2012
More and more people are really noticing how uppity and arrogant Unionist politicians and commentators have become in recent months and there is a perception that the northern Catholics are psychologically being politically cowed down once again and are afraid to assert their Irishness. This is all because they have no political leadership.
The current political leadership needs to stand up for their own people and stop worrying about reaching out to Unionists who only perceive their outreach as cowardice, weakness and pour contempt upon it.
It’s time to give the Catholic nationalist majority in Ireland the proper leadership it deserves…and that time is NOW.
Martin McGuinness Has Resigned As Deputy First Minister
August 11, 2012
by Damian Herron, Chairman,
Free Gerry McGeough Campaign in the north of Ireland
Martin McGuinness has today resigned as Deputy First Minister. The shock decision came in the middle of what can only be described as a very tense and emotional meeting between First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and British Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street.
Latest reports indicate that following a heated exchange between McGuinness and Cameron, the Deputy First Minister banged his fist hard on the table and stated,
“Let me make this very clear. The Good Friday Agreement and the Weston Park Accord have not yet been implemented in full. Gerry McGeough has been imprisoned on alleged activities dating back to 1975 and 1981. Your Government has refused to implement the agreements made in 1998 and 2001 and you are undermining the peace process. There is no justification for allowing this situation to continue”.
Peter Robinson, alarmed at this sudden outburst from his Deputy, placed a comforting hand on Martin’s shoulder and quietly replied,
“Calm down Martin, this is not a time for resignations. Please, sit down and let us talk this through like gentlemen”.
McGuinness was simply not in a mood to listen to more crap from a Unionist politician,
“Peter, my dear fellow, in chains you keep our Irish Gael, with vengeance reap soft Irish soil and tell us all for us you toil”.
The reply by Robinson to those poetic words were stern and harsh,
“With lack of shame, we make our claim”.
Then, with tears running down his cheeks, McGuinness spoke his final words as Deputy First Minister,
“I know exactly what is happening Peter. It is happening on my watch. I have no choice now but to resign as Deputy First Minister”.
“Your resignation is accepted Martin”.
Cameron, who had remained silent throughout, looked up at Peter and Martin,
“From Irish shores, to Brooklyn Heights and the streets of Sant Feliu, all I ever bloody hear is Free Gerry McGeough”.
Libertad para Gerry
August 9, 2012
Remember this? I would like to see Sinn Fein threaten to leave Stormont if Marian Price, Martin Corey and Gerry McGeough are not released immediately. Instead of fussing over the Queen's handshake, they should be in serious negotiations with Owen Paterson to ensure that the illegal internment of Martin Corey, Marian Price, now seriously ill in hospital, and the unjust incarceration of Gerry McGeough on charges dating back over 31 years ago, be ended immediately.
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson threatens to quit over royal insignia
Barack Obama - Hillary Clinton - William J Clinton: Please Send This Letter: Release Gerry McGeough, Martin Corey, Marian Price
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington DC 20520
Mr. William J. Clinton
55 W. 125th Street
New York, 10027-4526
Please include your return address on your letter as well as your envelope. If you have an email address, please consider including that as well.
The refusal by the British Government to apply the wording of Strand 3, Prisoners, paragraph 1 of the Belfast Agreement (1998) to the case of Gerry McGeough and credit Mr McGeough with time served in Germany and the USA prior to 1998 is a direct violation of an international agreement
Strand 3, Prisoners, paragraph 1 states:
1. Both Governments will put in place mechanisms to provide for an accelerated programme for the release of prisoners, including transferred prisoners, convicted of scheduled offences in Northern Ireland or, in the case of those sentenced outside Northern Ireland, similar offences (referred to hereafter as qualifying prisoners). Any such arrangement will protect the rights of individual prisoners under national and international law.
Gerry McGeough was imprisoned prior to 1998 in both Germany and the USA for a total of seven and a half years under qualifying IRA offences.
The decision taken by the British Government not to legislate for paragraph 20 of the Weston Park Accord (2001) under the wording agreed by the British and Irish Governments in 2001 is a unilateral abrogation of an International Agreement.
Paragraph 20 of the Weston Park Accord 2001 states:
"supporters of organisations now on cease-fire against whom there are outstanding proceedings, and in some cases extradition proceedings, for offences committed before 10th April 1998 would if convicted, stand to benefit from the early release scheme. The Governments accept that it would be a natural development of the scheme for such prosecutions not to be pursued and will as soon as possible, and in any event before the end of the year, take such steps as are necessary in their jurisdictions to resolve this difficulty so that those concerned are no longer pursued".
The British Government should adhere to the wording of Strand 3, Prisoners, paragraph 1 of the Belfast Agreement (1998) and paragraph 20 of the Weston Park Accord should be legislated for and implemented in full, as it was originally agreed by the British and Irish Governments in 2001. Gerry McGeough should be released immediately.
The imprisonment of Martin Corey without charge since April 2010 on the basis of undisclosed evidence is a form of internment without trial. It is a denial of Martin Corey’s right to be presented with evidence of the allegations against him. It is a denial of Martin Corey’s right to defend himself against those allegations. It is a denial of Martin Corey’s right to a fair trial.
The interference by the British Secretary of State Owen Paterson in arbitrarily overturning and refusing to implement the decision by Mr Justice Treacey on Monday 9th July 2012 to release Martin Corey on unconditional bail is an abuse of power by Owen Paterson and an abuse of the justice system.
All evidence of the allegations made against Martin Corey should be presented publicly before a court and he should be given the right to a fair trial. Otherwise, Martin Corey should be released immediately.
Marian Price has been held in solitary confinement for over 400 days and as a direct result of this, her physical and mental health has deteriorated rapidly. Adequate healthcare has consistently been denied to Marian Price. The original charges against Marian Price following her arrest in May 2011 have been dismissed by a court. Marian was granted bail by a court but was immediately re-arrested on the signed order of the British Secretary of State Owen Paterson. The British Secretary of State Owen Paterson has also declared that the Royal Perogative of Mercy granted to Marian Price in 1980 has been lost or shredded.
Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be upheld by the British Government.
Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
“All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”
Undemocratic actions such as these by the unelected and incumbent British Secretary of State Owen Paterson and his predecessors Shaun Woodward and Peter Hain are not in the interests of peace and justice.
Lack of Proper Political Leadership in the north of Ireland
by Helen McClafferty on Sunday, August 5, 2012
As a consequence of so many republicans incarcerated in Maghaberry prison, there is a real feel from family members and friends, who travel great distances to visit them, that there is much frustration and anger regarding the current political situation in the north.
People are fed up with the lack of proper political leadership and are seething over the reality that while republicans are being incarcerated and detained without charge, railroaded into prison by Diplock courts, the current political leadership does very little to address these issues.
More and more people appear to be convinced that since the Good Friday Agreement, the north of Ireland has only further been anglicized, as witnessed by the fact that the Union Jack is being constantly fluttered in their face day after day. The fact that the city of Derry is constantly being referred to as Londonderry, with no more mention of a united Ireland. The fact that self-righteous Unionist politicians continue to spew their raw sectarian hatred, unchallenged. Just the fact that SOS Owen Paterson defiantly ignored a judge’s decision to release Martin Corey, held without charge for 2 years. The continued persecution of Marian Price, also held without trial, and in very serious ill health. The railroading of Gerry McGeough, the first republican to be incarcerated after the GFA on over 31 year old charges, are all signs that the political landscape in the north of Ireland is headed in the opposite direction of the Good Friday Agreement, returning to the dark ages of where the Unionist are in control and the British Government continues to incarcerate republicans at will, without charge.
Make no mistake; people are fed up with the lack of political leadership in the north. Just the bizzare fact that Martin McGuinness is still going around calling attention to the fact he “hasn’t washed his hand since shaking hands with the Queen’ certainly has not given any reassurance to republicans that the political leadership is in anyway in control or even in touch with these serious issues and human rights abuses.
Republicans need to be able to count on a genuine political party who are not afraid to stand up now and challenge the Unionists and the British Government regarding these injustices and serious human rights abuses, and who will provide the proper political leadership the people of the north deserve.
The Swedish Government Should Expel The British Ambassador to Sweden Over British Government Human Rights Abuse In Ireland
by Damian Herron on Monday, August 6, 2012
Following the recent expulsion of the Swedish ambassador to Belarus Stefan Eriksson over claims that he was “being too supportive of human rights” then maybe the Swedish Government would like to expel the British ambassador to Sweden, Paul Charles Johnston over the abuse of human rights by the British Government against Irish Republicans in the occupied six counties.
Human rights abuse by the British Government includes internment without trial, solitary confinement lasting twelve months, denial of medication to prisoners, inadequate medical healthcare within a prison environment, forced strip searching and the living conditions that Republican prisoners in Maghaberry are expected to survive. This is a serious abuse of human rights against Irish people and it is a complete disregard of National and International human rights law by the British Government.
In the case of Gerry McGeough, a Swedish Civil Servant by the name of Helen Hedebris collaborated with the RUC/PSNI and then acted as the chief prosecution witness against Gerry in a discredited British Diplock court. International political asylum refugee laws were ignored by the British Government and their collaborator Hedebris to satisfy a never ending desire by the British to persecute and oppress the Irish people.
The hypocrisy of the British can be seen when their own Prime Minister called for the “freedom of human rights and democracy” in Burma. Concerns were raised by the British Foreign Office over the practice of “selective justice” in the Ukraine and a British MP stated that “Britain should have taken the lead”. Alarmed that Azerbaijan may have used the Eurovision Song Contest as a “tool of intimidation” Please Release Me T-shirts were handed out to highlight the plight of political prisoners in Azerbaijan.
Tory human rights policy is a shambolic mess of incoherent contradictions and double standards” as stated by British MP Denis MacShane
So why is the systematic abuse of human rights by the British Government in Ireland being ignored by the Swedish Government?
Contact Embassy of Sweden: Dublin - United States - Spain - London - Belfast - Expel
British Ambassador Paul Charles Johnston.
Contact Embassy of Sweden London:
Ambassador Nicola Clase
Embassy of Sweden
11 Montagu Place
Embassy of Sweden Dublin
Ambassador Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier
Embassy of Sweden
Contact Swedish Consulate Belfast:
Honorary Consul David Clarke
Consulate of Sweden
1 Corry Place
Belfast Harbour Estate
Contact Embassies of Sweden in United States
Contact Embassies of Sweden in Spain
The British Ambassador to Sweden Mr Paul Charles Johnston should be expelled immediately over the abuse of human rights by the British Government in Ireland.
Human rights abuse by the British Government in Ireland includes internment without trial, solitary confinement lasting twelve months, denial of medication to prisoners, inadequate medical healthcare within a prison environment, forced strip searching and the living conditions that Republican prisoners in Maghaberry are expected to survive. This is a serious abuse of human rights against Irish people and it is a complete disregard of National and International human rights law by the British Government.
In the case of Gerry McGeough, a Swedish Civil Servant by the name of Helen Hedebris collaborated with the RUC/PSNI and then acted as the chief prosecution witness against Gerry in a discredited British Diplock court. International political asylum refugee laws were ignored by the British Government and Helen Hedebris.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Shake Hands With Injustice
Martin Galvin writes an extensive piece on the history of the Gerrry McGeough case for The Pensive Quill
One former IRA commander was presented for a “royal handshake” while one suspected former Volunteer was presented with a more customary brand of royal invitation for carrying out IRA commands. Gerry McGeough found himself on a dubious honours list. His royal invitation, engraved by three Queen’s Bench appeals judges, “invited” the Tyrone Republican to remain a guest of their “gracious queen” at HMP Maghaberry. It was an offer he could not refuse.
The Stormont Agreement says that credit towards 2 year early release must be accorded those “sentenced outside Northern Ireland” on pre-1998 conflict related offenses. The crown nullified these terms and summarily dispensed with the 7 1/2 years McGeough had spent on IRA charges in German and American prisons.
Those who choreographed the “do-able” handshake did not permit inconvenient topics like Republican prisoners or crown murder victims, to intrude on their discussions. Such matters were relegated for mention after the jubilee tour, when neither Cameron nor his queen need take note. The week began with a queen’s handshake symbolizing change and ended with a queen’s bench meting out the same old injustice.
Few legal battles embodied so many issues and inspired so much emotional reaction as that of Gerry McGeough. Dail deputies and Stormont MLAs have journeyed to Maghaberry and urged his release. Americans have given help to his family that once would have been provided by Green Cross, An Cumann Cabhrach and Tyrone PDF.
Meanwhile DUP members, who scarcely conceal contempt for Republicans with whom they sit in partnership at Stormont, attended his trial to spew venom at someone they see as an unrepentant Republican.
Nigel Dodds called it “outrageous” that anyone was “demanding the release of such a person from prison.” Arlene Foster decried any “special treatment” while demanding McGeough serve his 20 year sentence “in full”, apparently without normal remission, much less the two year early release accorded to other prisoners. Maurice Morrow whinges about public monies paid for McGeough’s legal defense, while collecting public monies as Councillor, Lord and MLA triple-jobber.
In order to understand the issues and emotions running through this case, it is important to begin with the crucial political debate that foreshadowed McGeough’s imprisonment.
The March 2007 election climaxed a watershed period. Sinn Fein had stamped party approval on the re-named Royal Ulster Constabulary, and urged supporters to ratify this move at the polls. The vote would launch a new era of justice.
Patten, they claimed, had opened the constabulary ranks to nationalists. Future chief constables and someday even justice ministers would take up their posts subject to a Sinn Fein veto. Constabulary boards and district partnerships were touted as controls which Republicans would work to “put manners on the RUC.” A widely quoted Andersonstown News editorial predicted it would be “fun” bringing the RUC to heel. Calls to “trust the leadership” swayed many doubters.
Other equally sincere veteran Republicans, Brendan Hughes and John Kelly among them, felt a moral duty to say no. The RUC was the cutting edge of British repression. RUC hands were bloodstained by shoot-to-kill, or murders carried out in collusion with loyalists. Hundreds had been locked in British prisons, on confessions taken under torture and whitewashed with perjury in Diplock courts. The re-badged RUC-PSNI would merely dress up British law and rule in new insignias and uniforms. The constabulary would be commanded, trained and deployed by RUC veterans.
These skeptical Republicans feared that familiar nationalist faces on constabulary boards would become cosmetic fronts allowing the British to camouflage repression behind the mask of powerless public talking shops.
Gerry McGeough was among those veteran Republicans who stood against any nationalist endorsement for the British constabulary. Without party machinery or funding, he took the debate against the RUC to the same Fermanagh-South Tyrone venues where he had once campaigned for Bobby Sands MP.
McGeough said this battle for Republican hearts and minds was really about future elections, when dreamers of fun putting manners on the RUC had awakened to the dawn of continuing British repression.
With his votes cast but not yet counted, McGeough walked out to retrieve an item from his car. He never returned. The renamed constabulary had pocketed its mandate and was about to take a historic first step in its version of a new era of justice. The candidate was surrounded in a premeditated arrest by waiting RUC-PSNI officers.
Gerry McGeough, over fifty, married and settled with four young children, was charged with joining the Provisional IRA in 1975, and, taking part in a 1981 IRA ambush of an armed member of the UDR, in which both were seriously wounded.
The new era had begun with the new constabulary making an old fashioned retaliatory arrest of an Independent Republican whose real offense seemed to be campaigning for election against them.
McGeough’s solicitors filed for dismissal based on decades of delay. The Tyrone Republican could have been arrested 20 years earlier, simply by lodging an extradition warrant during his 4 year confinement in a notorious German bunker prison, or during his 3 years in an American jail on IRA weapons charges.
McGeough lived openly in Tyrone, joined in BBC studio debates, attended public rallies, and gave speeches outside constabulary barracks with his campaign posters prominently displayed. Instead the crown moved against him only in March 2007, outside the polling centre where his votes were being tallied.
A British judge had refused to charge RUC members for Nora McCabe’s murder on July 9, 1981, and for perjury during the cover-up which followed, even after television film belied their cover story of rioting and petrol bombers. Too late, the judge said. Charges delayed so many years would be a clear abuse of process and inevitably dismissed.
Somehow this same judge applied different rules to Gerry McGeough, for an incident which occurred four weeks before Nora McCabe was murdered by the RUC.
Human rights observers from British-Irish Rights Watch and the Committee for the Administration of Justice were ordered out of the courtroom. British pledges that McGeough was free to return to Tyrone were disavowed. McGeough was blamed that no extradition warrant was lodged or that no attempt was made to bring charges when he returned home. RUC-PSNI members were blameless for the ongoing cover-up of Nora McCabe’s murder.
If the heralded new era meant anything how could the same judges still bend the same rules in favor of the RUC-PSNI and across the backs of nationalists?
Soon after Gerry McGeough’s arrest, the British began to admit a litany of state force murders and murder cover-ups of innocent nationalists.
Cameron euphemistically called the Bloody Sunday murders, “unjustified and unjustifiable killings”. These are polite words for murder or manslaughter. Cover stories given under oath by these troopers before Widgery or Saville must accordingly be perjury. No arrests of any of these troopers have yet been made, including named troopers identified in multiple killings.
Many fear that the newly announced 4 year constabulary investigation will deliver more years of delay and disappointment for these courageous families. Will this inquiry end in judicial terminations like Nora McCabe’s murder, or sham trials like those which whitewashed the murders of John Downes and Majella O’Hare? Will the constabulary be more interested in pursuing IRA membership charges than British Army murder charges?
The families of some other victims received apologies but no arrests. In more politically sensitive cases, such as the Ballymurphy Massacre, Pat Finucane’s assassination, or the Dublin-Monaghan Bombings, the crown refused or stonewalled any inquiry.
No one predicts arrests of any members of the British Army or RUC who colluded in murders by their loyalist agents or tortured nationalists at interrogation centers and then sent them to Long Kesh or Armagh, with perjured accounts of voluntary confessions.
The crown seems to have bestowed an undeclared amnesty on members of the British Army and RUC which does not apply to those Republicans like Gerry McGeough who speak against the British administration.
A Diplock trial was ordered. Those who design repressive British laws choose their terms with deliberate irony. Words like ‘temporary’, ‘emergency’ or ‘prevention of terrorism’ invariably create provisions and powers which are permanent, lasting and routinely used to terrorize nationalists.
These non-jury courts replaced Internment, with show trials that could be counted upon to dispose of unwanted Republicans. Diplock courts were “abolished” which meant never to be used except in every case where the crown deems them useful.
Only a Diplock court would entertain, much less credit, the testimony against McGeough. There was no identification by any witness. McGeough was forcibly stripped and photographed after his arrest. Photos of an old wound were displayed as the crown speculated that it might possibly be a bullet wound, and possibly sustained as far back as 1981.
A bullet fragment with no forensics or DNA link to McGeough was introduced. The smashed fragment may or may not have been the same caliber fired by then UDR member Sammy Brush.
A key Garda witness, known as the “The Badger”, was named by former MI6 officer Fred Holroyd as someone linked to British intelligence.
Pages from a fictional novel authored by Gerry McGeough were read into the record as evidence of intent. Finally a political asylum application, whose confidentiality is a cornerstone of international law, was admitted without hesitation.
During the trial McGeough suffered two heart attacks. The judge ordered constables to monitor McGeough’s treatment at the hospital where he was confined, and to retrieve his medical records.
In 1916, British commanders ordered Army doctors to keep James Connolly alive until British troopers could shoot him. Nearly a century later, it seemed a British judge feared Gerry McGeough might die from a heart attack before the crown could jail him.
The verdict was a foregone conclusion. The flimsy evidence somehow was pronounced inescapable proof of guilt. The crown judge refused to wait for medical documents and directed that McGeough be taken forthwith to Maghaberry. Senior DUP members celebrated outside the courtroom.
McGeough was jailed for an IRA ambush that took place on June 13, 1981. Republican prisoners, in June 1981, were in the midst of a Hunger Strike, forced upon them by years of beatings and brutality, much of it accompanying mirror searches or strip-searches. Today in Maghaberry the same sort of brutal strip-searches are being inflicted, despite the agreement of August 2010, to halt the practice.
On his sentence date McGeough was subjected to such a search. He ended up in a hospital instead of court. His solicitors noted that brutality of this type could be life threatening.
David Ford’s appointment, with Sinn Fein backing, brought no protection to Republican prisoners from the same sort of callous brutality that Brendan Hughes and Bobby Sands resisted.
The judge imposed a twenty year sentence, angry that Gerry McGeough made no apologies for the IRA.
Reviews And Appeals
The Diplock judge’s verdict and sentence did not end McGeough’s legal fight. The Stormont Agreement mandates early release for those imprisoned 2 years on pre-1998 offenses. The carefully crafted document specifically referenced those “sentenced outside Northern Ireland” for qualifying offenses and noted that the rights of individual prisoners must be protected under international law.
The provision might have been drawn up with McGeough’s case in mind. In August 1988 McGeough had been arrested on the Dutch-German border and charged with actions arising from the IRA campaign. He remained in a notorious German bunker prison until 1992.He was then transported under an extradition warrant to America on charges that he had supplied weapons for the IRA in 1982. Gerry McGeough was imprisoned approximately 7 1/2 years outside northern Ireland, on charges that would have been qualifying IRA offenses in the six counties. He was entitled to early release but was denied by the crown.
McGeough filed for a judicial review to challenge the British. His solicitors cited more than a dozen comparable cases where prominent Republicans had been accorded early release credit for jail time spent in other jurisdictions through a British legal device, termed a Royal Prerogative for Mercy (RPM).
Ironically the matter was assigned to Seamus Treacy. While an idealistic young barrister a quarter century earlier, Treacy had traveled to Germany as a human rights observer and adviser at the request of McGeough’s co-defendant Gerry Hanratty. Treacy expressed genuine anger at the conditions and injustices which Hanratty and McGeough suffered. Now donning the wig and robes of a British judge, Treacy atoned for his youthful idealism by wiping out those years from the crown ledgers. The “change agenda” had struck again.
McGeough appealed again. Within days after the royal handshake, McGeough got the brand of royal invitation conferred on many Republicans. His appeal was denied and he was kept at HMP Maghaberry.
The crown court redefined the words “outside northern Ireland” to mean only Britain and Ireland, without explanation why more expansive terms had deliberately been written into the agreement. Subtle technical distinctions between McGeough’s case and the dozen comparable cases introduced by his solicitors were contrived. For good measure, Britain’s Weston Park pledge that those wanted on pre-1988 offenses would not be pursued, was hastily discarded as nothing more than an unfulfilled wish, with no legal effect.
Ironically one of the first Republican prisoners to commiserate with McGeough was Martin Corey, who within days would find himself the recipient of his own “royal invitation”.
It is said that Gerry McGeough will only serve 2 years with little more than 6 months to go. To paraphrase the old saying made famous by IRA author Ernie O’Malley, it is easy to sleep on another man’s 2 years.
However the early release provided by the Stormont deal is by no means guaranteed. Ford and his parole commissioners inspire little confidence. If released McGeough would remain on British license well into his 70s. Martin Corey and Marian Price are even now examples of internment by license. No one would be surprised if still more injustice awaits Gerry McGeough.
This case began more than 5 years ago with a soul-searching debate amongst Republicans. Many believed that endorsing the re-named RUC-PSNI and joining British constabulary boards would enable Sinn Fein to housetrain the British constabulary away from injustice. Other Republicans feared that the British would tout Sinn Fein’s backing and constabulary board seats, to make the party accomplices in British injustice. For Gerry McGeough, Marian Price, Martin Corey, and so many other victims of British oppression imposed in the queen’s name, the photograph of the royal handshake has forever sealed and settled that debate.