Tyrone Times
9 March 2012

A HIGH Court judge has ruled that a former IRA man should not be pardoned for an attempted murder 30 years ago.

Lawyers for Gerry McGeough claimed he was being treated differently to other so-called political prisoners because he was no longer a member of Sinn Fein.

McGeough, 53, from the Brantry, is serving a 20-year sentence imposed last year for shooting off-duty UDR soldier Samuel Brush.

On Friday, Mr Justice Treacy said the arguments were “untenable”.

McGeough’s lawyers argued that the Royal Prerogative of Mercy should be granted to ensure equal treatment with other convicted terrorists who benefited from it.

Mr Brush was attacked in June 1981.

He was working as a postman, making a delivery near Aughnacloy when he was attacked.

McGeough was convicted of his attempted murder, possession of a firearm and ammunition, and IRA membership.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement he is expected to serve only two years of his sentence and is still due for release in April next year.

A spokesperson for a campaign group set up to have McGeough freed, said his lawyers will file an appeal.

“The vindictiveness of the British government in this case, driven by the bigoted DUP’s insistence that McGeough remain in prison, is beyond hypocritical”, she said.

“Gerry wounded a UDR man – Sammy Brush in 1981 during the height of the troubles. British soldiers are walking around scott free who murdered innocent Catholic civilians in cold blood throughout the years of the troubles.”

Mr Brush, now a DUP councillor, attended court to hear submissions on behalf of the man convicted of trying to kill him.

Afterwards, he said: “Most people will find it ironic, and even laughable, that a dedicated Irish republican as Mr McGeough claims to be, should go pleading for the Royal Prerogative of Mercy from her Majesty the Queen.”

Mr Brush also pointed to the length of time McGeough will spend behind bars for the attempt on his life.

“He hasn’t shown any remorse to me or my family,” he said.

“I will carry my injuries to the grave, there’s still shrapnel in my chest.

“While he’s serving a two-year sentence and whinging and whining I have to get on with my life. It’s more than two years for me, it’s a life sentence.”