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**Received via email from Helen McClafferty

May 3, 2012, Maghaberry Prison

Through my incarceration and ongoing political persecution the British are sending a stark message to Irish Catholics. That message is an old one. It is ‘Croppies Lie Down’.

What the British/Unionist establishment is, in effect saying, is that the IRA lost the war and Sinn Fein bungled the peace. We are in total control now and we will do what we like. For ‘Croppies’ there will be no future, only vengeance and retribution for the past.

We will break up families. We will take fathers from their wives and children and a mother from her family, and throw them in jail so that Unionist bigots can smirk, laugh and wallow in sectarian hate.

That being the new reality, and coupled with the fact that levels of emigration from the nationalist areas of the six counties are at the highest since the 1950’s, is it any wonder that tens of thousands of Orangemen are to march on Stormont in September to gloat and celebrate.

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**Received via email from Helen McClafferty

Dear Friends of Irish unity:

I just signed the petition “British Prime Minister David Cameron: Implement paragraph 20 Weston Park Accord. Release Gerry McGeough.” and wanted to see if you could help me and my family by adding your name. Our goal is to reach 1,000 signatures and we need your support.

You can read more and sign the petition here:

https://www.change.org/petitions/british-prime-minister-david-cameron-implement-paragraph-20-weston-park-accord-release-gerry-mcgeough-2

Please do what you can to help free my husband from his politically motivated incarceration so he can return home to me and our four children. In order for there to be a complete peace in Ireland, there needs to be justice for all. My husband’s alleged offences were over 31 years old, prior to the GFA, and we all supported the peace process and were living in peace until the arrest of my husband when he ran in the Assembly elections in 2007. The British government had no right to arrest and incarcerate my husband on these politically motivated charges and it is going to take the good and decent people in America to put an end to this injustice and to release my husband without further delay.

If the British had not reneged on the Weston Park Accord, my husband would not be in prison today.

Thank you
MARIA JOSE MCGEOUGH

**Received via email from Helen McClafferty – 17 April 2012

Pressure grows for release of Gerry McGeough and Marian Price

Former Fianna Fail minister Éamon Ó Cuív has added his voice to a campaign for the release of a high-profile republican dissident, former Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle member Gerry McGeough.

Mr McGeough from Tyrone, a father of four, was arrested leaving a count centre in Omagh in 2007, having stood as an independent republican candidate in the Six County Assembly elections. He stood trial last year on IRA charges dating from 1981, and is now serving 20 years at Maghaberry prison.

His arrest was clearly politically motivated, given that he had been living openly in the North since 1996. Mr McGeough was stopped at checkpoints many times, called for jury service on two occasions and
made numerous appearances on television and radio programmes in advance of his arrest.

Campaigners have also raised concerns about McGeough’s health. He has had five stents inserted after a series of heart attacks, and a prison doctor has said that, due to his health, he should not be in prison.

Mr Ó Cuív spoke at a press conference this week with the Gerry McGeough Justice Campaign, Irish-American campaigner Fr Seán McManus and members of McGeough’s family.

He said part of the Weston Park agreement signed in 2001 between the Dublin and London governments dealt with the issue of outstanding prosecutions. It accepted that prosecutions for offences that would benefit from the early-release scheme should not be pursued.

“Unfortunately this legislation was never passed in Westminster and the matter has been left in abeyance,” Mr Ó Cuív said. “However, I believe that the agreement should still be implemented.” He said the event involved happened 31 years ago, and Mr McGeough had always supported the peace process. He had returned to Ireland, gone to Trinity College Dublin and “lived and worked peacefully”.

“All we are asking for is for the Weston Park agreement to be acted on and for Gerry to be released immediately,” Mr Ó Cuív said.

Members of Sinn Féin, republicans and a number of human rights organisations joined Mr O Cuív in the pre-Easter meeting to demand that McGeough be freed. His 11-year old daughter Una issued her own personal plea at the press conference.

”Everybody tells us that life at home is better now because of the peace process, but our lives are very sad. Why is there no peace process for us? Why is only our family being punished? We want our daddy home,” she said.

___________

RALLY FOR MARIAN

A major rally challenging the continued internment of Marian Price is to be led by Father Raymond Murray next weekend.

The former prison chaplain will speak at the event at Derry’s Guildhall Square on Sunday April 22. The rally will follow a procession through the city from Free Derry Corner at 2.30pm.

Rally organisers say the relaxation of Price’s prison conditions was a result of pressure applied by a meeting attended by hundreds of people in Derry and believe her continued confinement is “in direct conflict with current human rights legislation”.

”Owen Paterson sent Marian Price back to prison following the revocation of a supposed life licence. She was released from prison close to death in 1980,” they said in a statement.

”Mr Paterson conveniently overlooked the fact that Marian Price received a Royal Prerogative of Mercy [pardon] shortly after her release.

”This document wiped the slate clean for Marian and overrode the licence she was previously released on.”

They are challenging the claimed “loss or shredding” of Ms Price’s pardon, which her legal team believe would secure her release.

”Owen Paterson has no mandate in the north of Ireland nor is he accountable to the people here yet he can disregard the rulings of two judges and keep Marian Price in prison,” the statement read.

”This scenario raises questions about the justice powers devolved to Stormont and the judiciary as well as the independence of this branch of government.

”We believe justice is a core element in the establishment of real peace and stability and would ask everyone to join the procession and rally on April 22 to call with one loud voice for justice for Marian Price and all victims of internment and torture.”

News Letter
8 April 2012

**See also: Ó Cuív adds to calls for prisoner’s release

THE growing campaign to release convicted IRA gunman Gerry McGeough could encourage dissident republicans, according to one of his victims.

Former postman and Ulster Defence Regiment part-timer Samuel Brush says the “bleeding hearts” supporting calls for McGeough’s release are sending the “wrong message to would-be terrorists”.

Mr Brush, a serving DUP councillor in Dungannon and South Tyrone, was shot and wounded during a murder attempt in 1981.

At a trial last year, 53-year-old McGeough was found guilty of possessing firearms with intent and being a member of the IRA.

Although only required to serve two years of his 22-year sentence under the terms of the Good Friday and Weston Park agreements, campaigners have lobbied relentlessly for his immediate release.

His four-year trial and subsequent appeal for mercy have cost the taxpayer almost a quarter of a million pounds in legal aid to date.

Among the high-profile figures calling for McGeough’s release is Galway TD and former Fianna Fail deputy leader Eamon O Cuiv, who said he didn’t object to McGeough facing a court but added: “Once he had turned away from violence it is not serving the peace process for him to be incarcerated.

“I understand there are precedents in Northern Ireland, where I understand other IRA members were not imprisoned.”

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew has also 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 McGeough to offer our support while he is imprisoned,” she said.

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

Mr Brush described the campaign as a “slap in the face to victims” of terrorism.

“It always gives the impression that they were justified in what they did and to me that sends out absolutely the wrong message to would-be terrorists,” he said.

“A serious amount of money has been wasted for all the length of time he would have to serve.

“What he has done is abuse the system of legal aid in my opinion.

“There are a lot of bleeding hearts seemingly out there as far as his situation is concerned but there was no sign of those bleeding hearts for 30 years as far as my situation was concerned.

“To me this encourages them. If you know that at the end of your campaign, and you stop it, then whatever charges you face you will only serve a minimum sentence, if any.”

Mr Brush said he had maintained an interest in the legal proceedings throughout and feels the judiciary has been correct in its rulings against McGeough.

He said: “He applied for the Royal Prerogative of Mercy but that was rejected.

“Then he tried to get out for his daughter’s confirmation and that was rejected.”

And he added: “I think if a person gets 20 years, or five years, whatever the offence, it appears they only serve two with the rest of the time on licence.

“It was one of the big mistakes of the Good Friday Agreement.”

FIONA GARTLAND
Irish Times
6 April 2012

FIANNA FÁIL deputy Éamon Ó Cuív added his voice to a campaign for the release of Northern Ireland prisoner Gerry McGeough at a press conference in Dublin yesterday.

McGeough (53), from Tyrone, is serving 20 years at Maghaberry prison after being found guilty of possession of firearms, IRA membership and injuring an Ulster Defence Regiment member in 1981.

The father of four was arrested leaving a count centre in Omagh in 2007, having stood as an independent republican candidate in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections. He stood trial last year.

Supporters question the motivation behind his arrest in 2007, given that he had been living in Northern Ireland since 1996. They say he was stopped at checkpoints many times, called for jury service on two occasions and made numerous appearances on television and radio programmes in advance of his arrest.

Campaigners have also raised concerns about McGeough’s health. He has had five stents inserted after a series of heart attacks, and a prison medic has said that, due to his health, he should not be in prison, they said.

Mr Ó Cuív spoke yesterday at a press conference with the Gerry McGeough Justice Campaign, campaigner Fr Seán McManus and members of McGeough’s family. He said part of the Weston Park agreement signed in 2001 between the British and Irish governments dealt with the issue of outstanding prosecutions It accepted that prosecutions for offences that would benefit from the early-release scheme should not be pursued.

“Unfortunately this legislation was never passed in Westminster and the matter has been left in abeyance,” Mr Ó Cuív said. “However, I believe that the agreement should still be implemented.”

He said the event involved happened 31 years ago. Mr McGeough had always supported the peace process. He had returned to Ireland, gone to Trinity College Dublin and “lived and worked peacefully”.

“All we are asking for is for the Weston Park agreement to be acted on and for Gerry to be released immediately,” Mr Ó Cuív said.

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.”.

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.”

BBC
2 Mar 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.

Gerry McGeough was convicted of attempting to murder Sammy Brush in 1981

McGeough, 53, from Dungannon, County Tyrone, 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 at the time. He was 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.

Mr Brush, now a DUP councillor in Dungannon, 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.”

Tyrone Times
21 February 2012
**Via Newshound

REPUBLICAN inmate Gerry McGeough is due to learn his fate next Tuesday (28th) when the judgement on his appeal against his jail sentence will be heard.

Last year, the Brantry man was found guilty of attempting to murder DUP councillor and former part-time UDR member Sammy Brush in 1981.

McGeough is to serve two years of a 22-year sentence for the offence.

According to a spokesperson for the campaign to have McGeough freed, the 53-year-old has been informed by his attorney that the ‘judgment’ on both his Appeal, which was heard November 16, 2011, and his Judicial Review, which was heard on January 6, 2012, will be handed down on February 28.

“The fact that both decisions will be handed down simultaneously, on the same day, is not a coincidence”, said the spokesperson.

“Gerry believes this directive is coming from the highest political level within the British government.

“All we can do now is wait and hope for a positive outcome.”

Speaking from jail on the one year anniversary of his imprisonment, McGeough described himself as ‘a political hostage’.

“My imprisonment and continued incarceration make a mockery of the Good Friday Agreement and proves that political repression and the sectarian discrimination remains central to the existence of this statelet”, he said.

“Sinn Fein leaders are deeply embarrassed by this whole scandal, as it calls into question their negotiating skills and exposes their utter lack of any real power and influence.

“Thus, they put more time and effort into trying to discredit and silence our campaign rather than stand up to the British on behalf of our people.”

McGeough shot Mr Brush as the part-time soldier worked as a postman in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone.

Despite being injured, Mr Brush was able to return fire and injured McGeough.

If McGeough fails to win a judicial review he is still due for release in April next year.

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

At a hearing in January, the judge was told the warrant was used to free others such as James McArdle, the Armagh man responsible for the 1996 London Docklands bombing.

Sean Devine, counsel for McGeough, said: “What seems to be the elephant in the room is this was a political device where political motives effectively seemed to trump the legal framework that was in place.”

He stressed that no criticism was being made of it, adding that some consequences of the political process and Good Friday Agreement were “distasteful”.

One of those was that some men convicted of atrocities prior to the peace accord were being released after as little as two years in jail, the court heard.

He claimed it was “equally distasteful that because the Good Friday Agreement is in the bag and because Mr McGeough is no longer a member of Sinn Fein and perhaps seen to be more vulnerable” that he should receive unequal treatment.

Received via email from Helen McClafferty:

A year ago today an English Diplock Judge had me thrown in jail as a defacto political hostage. My imprisonment and continued incarceration make a mockery of the Good Friday Agreement and proves that political repression and the sectarian discrimination remains central to the existence of this statelet.

Sinn Fein leaders are deeply embarrassed by this whole scandal, as it calls into question their negotiating skills and exposes their utter lack of any real power and influence. Thus, they put more time and effort into trying to discredit and silence our campaign rather than stand up to the British on behalf of our people. Shame on them!

Over the past year, we have discovered who our true friends are and I assure you your loyalty, decency and kindness will not be forgotten. Meanwhile, my patriotic position today is the same as a year ago: “LONG LIVE OUR IRISH NATION AND PERDITION UPON ALL OUR ENEMIES”.

God bless you all and know we shall have victory in the end.

Gerry McGeough

**Received via email from Helen McClafferty:

A chairde,

Recently several prominent supporters of the campaign to free Gerry McGeough forwarded emails sent from Sinn Fein for our comments. These emails say that Sinn Fein has called for Gerry McGeough’s release from Maghaberry and therefore our justice campaign should “focus our efforts on the British government, which is responsible for his imprisonment, and on the Irish government, which is a co-signatory to the Weston Park agreement.”

Gerry McGeough has been imprisoned by the British for more than a year at Maghaberry. Clearly the combined weight of court challenges, calls from political parties including Sinn Fein , together with pressure through any and all other political mechanisms, have not yet been sufficient to compel the British to free him. Like any other justice campaign, we can only try for greater efforts by any and every source open to us, until the British give Gerry McGeough the freedom to which we all agree he is entitled.

The primary focus of efforts to pressure the British crown has been legal challenges in British courts, thus far including an abuse of process application, a Diplock trial defense, appeals, and judicial review. Even now a ruling on his pending judicial review is imminent, and could mean freedom for Gerry McGeough.

Given what has already occurred in his case, and indeed in the long history of British courts dealing with Irish Republican cases, there is no assurance of justice for Gerry McGeough. If the crown judge rules against him, the only alternative means of increasing pressure on the British will be to ask more from political parties. As a party which includes a Deputy First Minister, and whose backing helped grant David Ford a renewed term as Stormont Justice Minister, Sinn Fein’s help would be pivotal.

However, the campaign is by no means limited to Sinn Fein. Eamon O’Cuiv, of Fianna Fail, and several SDLP members have visited Gerry McGeough at Maghaberry, and pledged support. Their support was only enlisted when members of Sinn Fein who support Gerry McGeough advised that their requests within party channels for effective rather than token action were stonewalled.

We then received emails and read published letters criticizing Gerry McGeough and our campaign, for not trusting exclusively Sinn Fein; and for accepting help from Fianna Fail and the SDLP despite past policies of those parties regarding Republicans. We will continue to lobby all potential channels of support that might assist in pressuring the British crown directly or through the Irish government.

Gerry McGeough is imprisoned by the British on charges that he joined the IRA in 1975 and that he was wounded in an IRA engagement with a member of the notorious British Ulster Defense Regiment, during the time of the Hunger Strike of 1981.The evidence trotted out against him included medical testimony and photographs of bullet wounds he suffered as an IRA Volunteer, as well as nearly 8 years of imprisonment for IRA activities in Germany and the United States. Given this background, and Britain’s desire to use this case as a precedent against other Republicans, it is difficult to see any mechanism for compelling the crown to release Gerry McGeough without Sinn Fein intensifying its efforts.

We also received inquiries about how much they had already done for Gerry McGeough. We hesitated before making this reply. The campaign is supported by a broad spectrum. It includes Sinn Fein members and party supporters, as well as others with very different views. The campaign is united by one aim of freedom for Gerry McGeough. We want to work constructively with Sinn Fein and all others who can help win this freedom. We have no other agenda.

We were reluctant to clarify the record regarding Gerry McGeough, since an honest response might create further difficulties or even be cited as a reason to do nothing more on the issue. It now appears given the decision to publish this correspondence in AP/RN that we have no alternative.

We wish to acknowledge again that after Gerry McGeough’s arrest in 2007, Michelle Gildernew wrote one of the character reference letters which were introduced during his bail hearing and this letter was helpful to McGeough’s solicitors. On a couple of occasions, during the four years of court proceedings, members of Sinn Fein attended the trial for Gerry and his co-defendant.

However there was a telling disparity between these actions and the far more frequent, vocal, and visible interventions by prominent DUP members, led by Arlene Foster and Maurice Morrow against Gerry McGeough.
DUP intervention, climaxed by Foster and Morrow’s presence in court to influence and celebrate the verdict, was patently obvious to the public and Diplock judge and conveyed a clear signal that the case against McGeough meant far more to the DUP, than to any other political faction.

It is also appreciated that Sinn Fein members, most recently Ray McCartney in December, visited Gerry McGeough amongst other Republican prisoners at Maghaberry and said that his case among others and the protest against brutal H-Block like strip-searches were high on the agenda. However, David Ford, who presides over these injustices, then had his term extended by Sinn Fein in partnership with the DUP, and was thereby empowered to continue these injustices.

We accept that the British broke the Weston Park agreement by jailing Gerry McGeough on thirty year old charges. Britain’s stance in prosecuting former IRA members while conferring an apparent amnesty for murders by British troopers or crown constables is hypocritical. Sinn Fein, better than anyone, knows the difference between token statements meant to do no more than placate supporters and effective action on issues of importance. Without Sinn Fein, as the representative of former IRA members during these talks, demanding that “unambiguous” pledges be honored, it is apparent that the crown feels free to break its word with impunity.

Gerry McGeough’s solicitors urged the British crown court to follow the reading of Weston Park advanced by Sinn Fein. The British and Stormont justice ministry rejected this interpretation out of hand. The trial was suspended pending an abuse of process hearing.

No one from Sinn Fein took the witness stand on Gerry McGeough’s behalf. His solicitors, who have strong contacts with Sinn Fein, were forced to call a loyalist, William Smith, to testify for Gerry McGeough. The application was denied and the Diplock trial continued. We are left to speculate whether testimony from any Sinn Fein representative about what was agreed at Weston Park might have altered the outcome and halted the trial before Gerry McGeough was tried and jailed.

Now an application for a judicial review has been lodged, and a decision is pending. In addition to the Weston Park pledges, McGeough contends that he should be eligible for immediate release because the 8 years in jail in Germany and America should be applied to satisfy the 2 year GFA release requirements. His solicitors cited a dozen comparable cases where Republicans imprisoned in other jurisdictions had their time credited by means of a pardon (Royal Prerogative of Mercy). They were able to obtain and produce copies of these pardons which were attached as exhibits in support.

In making this application, Gerry McGeough in a sworn affidavit, said that while an elected member of the Sinn Fein Ard Chomairle, he often spoke to Gerry Kelly on the negotiations regarding his own case as well as other On-the-Runs (OTRS). McGeough attested that he was specifically told by Gerry Kelly that he was on the list of cases being negotiated and finally told that he was free to go home to Tyrone without fear of arrest or charges. Gerry Kelly says that “this was not the case.”

Gerry McGeough was so sure of this conversation that he not only returned to Tyrone for the first time in years, but began public preparations to move his family there, including applying for planning permission, building a house, enrolling his children in school and moving around openly. McGeough’s solicitors contend that he was removed from the list some time after he left Sinn Fein and arrested because he ran as an Independent Republican.

After this application was argued, the crown judge directed that the record be kept open for an affidavit from Gerry Kelly. Kelly had previously declined to cooperate with McGeough’s solicitors in preparing an affidavit that would have supported him. Our understanding is that Kelly’s solicitors on January 12th sent a letter which was such that McGeough’s solicitors had to incorporate it in a submission that made reference to the “obvious tension” between McGeough’s and Kelly’s positions.

Gerry McGeough, now in his 50s, has suffered heart attacks since his arrest in 2007. Last week he was hospitalized again for his heart ailment and will need further surgery. He is separated from his wife and four young children and imprisoned at Maghaberry in conditions which can only exacerbate his medical problems. He is in jail on 30 year old charges that were clearly part of the IRA’s struggle against British rule.

It is difficult to imagine the frustrations that even someone who has served 8 years in jail, must feel to be held in a British prison in the conditions at Maghaberry on decades old charges, in the midst of what we are often told is a new political dispensation.

It must be especially hurtful, when members of Sinn Fein or supportive organizations in America, advise that they have been discouraged from campaigning for more pressure to free Gerry McGeough and are told to “focus their efforts elsewhere.”

Slán,

FREE GERRY McGEOUGH CAMPAIGN
14 February 2012

**Received via email from Helen McClafferty:

9 Feb 2012

Maria McGeough just called to inform us that Gerry called her at 12:00 pm today from Maghaberry prison. The last time Maria had heard from Gerry was on Tuesday at 4:00 pm to tell her he was being taken to hospital. “Gerry is not well and the Doctors are very concerned for his well-being, not only because of his heart problems but also because of the high levels of bacteria in the Republican wing due to the dirty protest”. As everyone knows, Gerry has 5 stents in his heart and if he gets a bacterial infection in his bloodstream it could reach his heart and kill him. Gerry told Maria “the Doctors want him back in the hospital, but the prison authorities will not tell Gerry when they plan to take him back to the hospital for another surgery procedure because he is considered a ‘high security risk’ “.

Maria would like to thank everyone for their sincere concern, “especially Mr. Pat Ramsey, MLA (Congressman) of the SDLP, who called her this morning and gave her his mobile phone number to call him if she needs anything”. Maria said “Mr. Ramsey is is planning another visit to Maghaberry prison to see Gerry and that he called the Minister’s office today to pass on a message that Gerry McGeough needs to be home due to his severe health issues”. Maria will keep us further updated on Gerry’s situation and asks everyone to “continue to speak out for the immediate release of her husband not only because he has been illegally incarcerated but especially on humanitarian grounds due to his deteriorating health”.

The McGeough family and members of the Free Gerry McGeough Campaign send their sincere condolences to Mr. Eamon O’Cuiv on the loss of his mother.

Received via email from Helen McClafferty:

I have just gotten word from Maria McGeough that Gerry has been take to the cardiac unit of a hospital. She has no further information for us nor is she allowed to see him.

I will keep you updated as soon as I know more.

Prayers are need for him and his family.

Thank you,
Helen

BBC
6 Jan 2012

A former IRA man seeking a Royal pardon after being jailed for an attempted murder 30 years ago has suffered inequality, the High Court has heard.

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 Dungannon, Co Tyrone, is serving a 20-year sentence imposed last year for shooting off-duty UDR soldier Samuel Brush.

Mr Brush was attacked in June 1981.

He was working as a postman at the time, and was 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.

If he fails to win a judicial review he is still due for release in April next year.

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

It was argued that the Royal Prerogative of Mercy should be granted to ensure equal treatment with other convicted terrorists who benefited from it.

A judge was told the warrant was used to free others such as James McArdle, the Armagh man responsible for the 1996 London Docklands bombing.

‘Distasteful’

Sean Devine, counsel for McGeough, said: “What seems to be the elephant in the room is this was a political device where political motives effectively seemed to trump the legal framework that was in place.”

He stressed that no criticism was being made of it, adding that some consequences of the political process and Good Friday Agreement were “distasteful”.

One of those was that some men convicted of atrocities prior to the peace accord were being released after as little as two years in jail, the court heard.

“There are people, for example, who have committed sectarian massacres in the mid-1990s who benefited from the Good Friday Agreement,” Mr Devine said.

He claimed it was “equally distasteful that because the Good Friday Agreement is in the bag and because Mr McGeough is no longer a member of Sinn Fein and perhaps seen to be more vulnerable” that he should receive unequal treatment.

Part of McGeough’s case is that it would be unlawful to draw a distinction between him and others because he previously served jail terms in Germany and in the United States.

Mr Devine added: “The logic applied by the authorities to achieve what they considered the right result in this case was, we say, twisted and tortuous.”

According to his argument McGeough should not have served any time for the attempted murder.

The judge, Mr Justice Treacy, remarked: “I have to say I find that a startling proposition.”

Tony McGleenan QC, responding for the Secretary of State, argued that there were “categoric” differences in McArdle’s case.

“He, looked at in the round, was in custody for a period of time that would have taken him beyond the two-year threshold,” Mr McGleenan said.

“But because of the way he was arrested and charged he was technically not going to qualify.

“That’s not Mr McGeough’s case, it’s a very long way from it.”

Judgment in the judicial review application was reserved.

**Received via email from Helen McClafferty

Gerry’s hearing today lasted more than 4 hours as his solicitors argued for his entitlement to release under the Good Friday arrangement.The first challenge was whether the Court had any authority to review the crown’s power to grant or withhold pardons.His solicitors contended that when pardons are granted or withheld on arbitrary grounds that are clearly discriminatory such as withdrawing a pardon from Gerry McGeough
because of his political opinions and candidacy in an election, that such matters are indeed are viewable and subject to court rulings to correct abuses of discretion.

The British then argued that while Gerry’s solicitors had asserted that he was not pardoned because of his political opinions they could not offer proof on that issue. His solicitors answered that the crown had offered no affidavits as to any other explanation for his being denied a pardon, even though all of the officials,records and documents should have been under their control.The crown’s failure in these circumstances supported Gerry’s contention.

The Court then heard arguments on Gerry’s imprisonment in Germany and the USA on IRA related charges and why it should count towards the two year early release scheme.

Gerry’s case, it was acknowledged may become an important precedent for several others, including some Sinn Fein supporters.The Court asked why there were no supporting affidavits from Gerry Kelly or Sinn Fein. These have been requested but refused.

Gerry’s solicitors were given until next Friday to provide additional supporting documents from Sinn Fein.The record will be then closed and the decision may come any time thereafter.

Sammy Brush of the DUP did attend the hearing but was not given an opportunity to speak. Gerry McGeough was not brought to court from Maghaberry.

MARTIN GALVIN Esq

**Received via email from Helen McClafferty

A delegation from Sinn Fein met with all the groups in Maghaberry the other day, including independent republican Gerry McGeough.

In an ‘extremely robust exchange’, Gerry strongly criticized the Sinn Fein leadership on their shameful silence regarding his situation and accused them of ‘sacrificing him in the interest of their cozy relationship with the DUP’.

Gerry further stated ‘ Sinn Fein leadership’s attitude was in stark contrast to the ordinary membership whose vast and widespread majority members want the party to act on the motion for his immediate release, which was passed at this year’s Ard Fheis’. Gerry also requested that the Sinn Fein leadership demand the immediate arrest and diplock court prosecution of ‘Soldier F’ for the murder of 4 innocent people in Derry on Blood Sunday.

Gerry wants to make it PERFECTLY CLEAR that the ‘SINN FEIN LEADERSHIP IS DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on his behalf, regardless of whatever yarns they are spinning for their own PR purposes’.

Gerry would like to thank those Sinn Fein members who have worked tirelessly on his behalf, as well as the AOH in the US and abroad, Radio Free Eireann, Eamon O’Cuiv, the Free Gerry McGeough committee and all those supporters who have openly supported him and his family in this serious miscarriage of justice.

Gerry is asking everyone to pull together and speak out about the disgraceful and cowardly silence of the Sinn Fein leadership and to work on his behalf, in unity, for his immediate release.

Belfast Telegraph
3 December 2011

A DUP councillor must be legally informed that the former IRA man jailed for trying to kill him is attempting to win freedom under a special pardon granted by the Queen, a High Court judge has ordered.

Mr Justice Treacy directed that Samuel Brush should be put on notice of Gerry McGeough’s legal bid to obtain a Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

A hearing of McGeough’s judicial review application was adjourned until it can be established if Mr Brush wants to be represented in the case.

McGeough (53) from Dungannon, Co Tyrone, was sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year for shooting Mr Brush in June 1981. McGeough was convicted of 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. His lawyers argue that he should be granted the special mercy warrant to ensure equal treatment with other convicted terrorists who benefited from it. During the full hearing of the case, Mr Justice Treacy was told Mr Brush has not been put on notice of the proceedings.

**Received via email:

Gerry’s application for release was in court before Justice Treacy on December 1st. The judge declared that the former member of the UDR, Sammy Brush, who was the target of the 1981 IRA ambush for which Gerry was jailed, should be served with legal papers in the event he wished to be heard in the action. The case was then adjourned to December 16, for that purpose.

If the judge agrees to decide the application on the basis of the legal papers there could be a date for final submission and possibly argument before the Christmas recess. Even then it is unlikely that a decision would be made until mid-January, at the very earliest. Obviously there could be other adjournments before the application is complete. Meanwhile Gerry remains in Maghaberry.

Please remember his wife and 4 children come this Christmas. Go to www.freegerry.com if you would like to make a donation.

You can also send Christmas cards to Gerry:

Gerry McGeough
Maghaberry Prison
Roe House
Ballinderry Upper
Lisburn
NI BT28 2PT

Thank you,
Helen McClafferty

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile

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