Tyrone Times
16 March 2012
**Via Newshound

Maria McGeough with her husband before he went on trial at Belfast Crown Court charged with IRA membership and the attempted murder of a UDR man Sammy Brush in 1981.

THE wife of an imprisoned former IRA man, who has been refused a Royal Pardon, has broken her silence over what she described as the British government’s punishment of her family.

Maria Jose McGeough, the wife of Gerry McGeough, who received a 20-year sentence last year for shooting off-duty UDR soldier Samuel Brush 30 years ago, has accused the British and Irish governments of going ‘backwards in their steps’ to implement the peace deal.

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

However, earlier this month, Mr Justice Treacy ruled that he should not be pardoned.

Calling for her husband’s immediate release, Mrs Geough, who is originally from Barcelona, said: “My four children have the right to a legitimate peace.”

“The Irish and British government agreed to apply the Weston Park Agreement”, she added.

“Now they can not go backwards in their steps. Peace in Northern Ireland is at stake.

“Sinn Féin should be at the forefront of these requirements and should verify that both governments accomplish this agreement.

“We have been waiting for too long. We have suffered too much so far. Peace must come to all the Irish who are willing to support it. Political differences should not be punished. It is necessary for the immediate release of my husband Gerry McGeough. I need to have my children’s father at home.”

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

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew said her party would continue to fight for McGeough’s release.

“Since his imprisonment we have consistently raised his arrest with both the British and Irish governments alongside meeting Mr McGeogh to offer our support while he is imprisoned,” she said.

“We will continue to raise this issue at all levels.”.

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