Greetings to the A.O.H National St Louis Convention
- August 2014
Pax Vobiscum. Warmest fraternal greetings to our American Brethren from Brantry Division 207, Co. Tyrone, Ireland. We wish the St. Louis National Convention every success.
Earlier this year it was our great honour to have welcomed a FFAI delegation of American Hibernians to historic Benburb on the Tyrone/Armagh border.
We co-hosted the gathering with a new and vibrant local pro-life group, which has been extremely active in recent months on a host of issues pertaining to the Catholic Faith and the endless attacks upon our ethos and community. This group has not hesitated to spring to the defence of both and it has received a lot of coverage in the local media as a consequence; mostly positive, I might add.
In conjunction with the local A.O.H. this St. Joseph’s Pro-Life Group Dungannon has not only been involved in standard anti-abortion activity, including the promotion of a Pro-Life Mass, taking part in marches, leafleting etc., but it has also exposed and publicly protested against the activities of an insidious non-Catholic organisation. This outfit has been coming into local Catholic schools promoting abortion, contraception and pornography to children as young as eleven under the guise of “Relationship Preparation”! The St. Joseph’s Group with Hibernian help has fearlessly taken on this organisation and has succeeded in getting a number of Catholic schools to pull out of their “Relationships” programme.
There is much more to do, however, and it is the intention of the St. Joseph’s Group to have such organisations utterly rooted out of our Catholic schools and see to it that their indoctrination of our young people is replaced with a programme that is thoroughly Catholic in ethos and outlook.
As Hibernians, we want to see Ireland united and free from British misrule once and for all and we are constantly working for the peaceful, political implementation of this ideal.
We recognise, however, that an independent Ireland that is devoid of its Catholic culture and traditional, high moral ethos is a travesty and an insult to the sacrifice of all our noble Patriots over the centuries.
The Brantry Hibernians, moreover, are deeply disappointed by the lack of emphasis on the teaching of Nationalist Irish history in our schools and the general Anglicisation of our young people and society in Ireland at large.
We are asking our great Diaspora in the United States, through the good offices of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, to help us stop the rot that has slithered into Irish society in recent years. Help us to establish noble ideals that will inspire our young people for the Catholic Faith and nation of Ireland again.
For our part, we shall continue to assist and promote groups such as the St. Joseph’s Pro-Life Group Dungannon. We are pleased to note that similar groups are beginning to spring-up in neighbouring counties and that they are co-ordinating on issues that are central to Irish Catholic Nationalism. The clear thrust is towards a Hibernian influenced Catholic League that will defend and promote all that is good and decent about our Catholic Faith and Irish Nation.
We welcome the participation of our American A.O.H. Brothers and Sisters in this noble venture. We shall remember you in our prayer group gatherings and look forward to meeting and hosting all future FFAI and Pro-Life U.S. Hibernian delegations to Ireland. May God Bless you all.
Beannacht Dé oraibh,
President, Brantry A.O.H Division 207,
Co. Tyrone, Éire/Ireland.
May 1, 2014
Retribution Retards Revelation - Arrest of Adams
The British Government never fully implemented the Weston Park Accord (paragraph 20) because they didn't have to. They already knew they never had any intentions of ever prosecuting members of the security forces. On the other hand, they had every intention of arresting, incarcerating and interning republicans (post GFA) on alleged offences committed prior to the GFA and in some cases without charge or trial.
In not fully implementing the WPA, the Brits were able to selectively incarcerate any republicans who spoke out against them, the PSNI/RUC, the DUP, AND it also guaranteed SF that those who opposed them would be silenced (McGeough, for one, as he was the first republican arrested and given a 20 year sentence on 31-year-old troubles related charges after the signing of the GFA) thus sending a clear message to others: "Step in line or else".
Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Kelly and others within SF are calling Mr. Adams' arrest, around election time, "politically motivated". Well, wasn't that exactly what happened to Gerry McGeough? Only McGeough, an Independent candidate at the time, was arrested at the count center in Omagh, and Sinn Fein never called McGeough's arrest "politically motivated".
According to media reports, the interviews recorded on tape of Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price cannot be used in court in the McConville case because they are both now deceased? In contrast, the judge in the McGeough trial allowed the taped testimony of deceased witnesses to the alleged shoot-out, between McGeough and Sammy (the "UDR/DUP") Brush, to be used in court against Mr. McGeough. My, how things can change when you are considered politically correct in the eyes of the Brits.
If Mr. Adams is cleared of any wrongdoing in the McConville murder, then so should Ivor Bell. In fact, Sinn Fein should take the lead on calling for an immediate end to the charges brought against Mr. Bell by the PSNI/RUC. If the tapes cannot be used in court, then how can the Diplock court justify continuing any prosecution against Mr. Bell without incriminating Mr. Adams, again?
When Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness insisted that the PSNI/RUC march in the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade, after the parade committee rescinded their invite to them due to pressure from Irish-American activists, it was a slap in the face to the families of the innocent victims murdered by members of the security forces in collusion with loyalist death squads.
Instead of kissing the arse of the PSNI/RUC, British and Irish government, it would behoove Mr. Adams & Company to be calling for a complete HALT to the continuing pursuit of republicans on prior GFA offences by the PSNI/RUC. One would think that since Mr. Kelly and other members of SF sit on the NI policing board they would have some say in the matter? If the Brits are not holding members of their own security forces (war criminals) accountable for the murder of innocent civilians during the troubles, then why should republicans be held accountable any longer?
It should be realized that Sinn Fein is just as guilty as the Brits for allowing British injustice and double standards to continue to be used in northeast Ireland against republicans while known murderers within the PSNI/RUC, British Army, UDR and loyalists go unpunished. It wouldn't hurt for the SDLP to step up to the plate on this issue as well.
Read the excellent article below:
U.S. Hibernians visit Benburb & Gerry McGeough - April 2014
A great time was had by all when a delegation from the American A.O.H. Freedom For All Ireland committee visited Benburb in Co Tyrone for a get-together with Gerry McGeough and family along with members of Brantry A.O.H. Division 207 and St. Joseph’s Pro-Life Group Dungannon.
The American visitors were entertained by a group of top class Irish musicians and singers and a troupe of young Irish dancers. Good food and drink enhanced the convivial atmosphere and all concerned were blessed by the warmth of the spring sunshine.
The visitors were given an update on local and general political and social developments pertaining to the situation in the North of Ireland and they were left in no doubt as to the important role Irish-America, and in particular the Ancient Order of Hibernians, have to play in these matters.
As they prepared to leave, the U.S. guests received a number of presentations from their solidly pro-American hosts and everyone was left looking forward to a re-union next year.
Gerry McGeough to appeal IRA murder bid conviction
11 April 2014 BBC News Northern Ireland
A former IRA man who was convicted of trying to murder a soldier more than 30 years ago has been granted leave to appeal to the UK's highest court.
Please Read and Pass Along
April 2, 2014
Gerry McGeough - 2011 Conviction Unsafe -
Aiden Carlin Solicitor has confirmed that his client Gerry McGeough is to raise today's revelations with the Criminal Case Review Commission.
Commenting on the evidence of retired Detective Norman Baxter, Gerry McGeough's solicitor said: "It is odd Detective Baxter did not make these disclosures about Gerry Adams and 10 Downing Street during the course of my client's trial, appeal and related proceedings. Nevertheless my client is again vindicated in terms of his insistence that he and other Republicans had been assured by Sinn Fein on behalf of the NIO of no prosecution for Pre-Good Friday Agreement offences."
Solicitor Aiden Carlin commented, "We will study today's revelations and seek full disclosure of what was kept secret from our client's defence team. Further, we will be making fresh representations to the CCRC and factor Detective Baxter's evidence into our client's pending Supreme Court application".
Martin Galvin's letter to the Editor
27 March 2014
BRONX, NEW YORK, 10451
113-117 Donegal Street
Belfast, Northern Ireland
March 24, 2014
PANDORA’S BOX OF IVOR BELL ARREST
The British may think it time for self-congratulations after arresting respected Republican icon Ivor Bell. With one stroke the crown muted the Westminster outcry over its bartered OTR immunity certificates, placated Unionist adherents, and sent a sinister warning to potential Independent Republican candidates or campaigners. All the while the British continued long-fingering arrests for Bloody Sunday or collusion murders towards oblivion.
On St. Patrick’s Day a constabulary delegation originally put out of the New York parade due to Irish-American opposition, was reinserted, amidst the ‘ENGLAND OUT of IRELAND’ banners, after public pleas by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness for the new constabulary. Within days this new constabulary repaid them in old RUC form, by selectively targeting a 77 year old veteran Republican who was with one or both in negotiations with William Whitelaw.
The arrest of Ivor Bell on 1972 charges, contrasted with the failure to arrest any Bloody Sunday 1972 troopers, despite overwhelming evidence in hand, should end any questions about the one-sided immunity or impunity granted those who murdered while wearing British Army or Constabulary uniforms.
Independent Republicans are told they have a democratic right to contest elections and put their political analysis before the voters. Some point to Jim Allister as the proverbial tail wagging the DUP unionist dog on issues like the Long Kesh u-turn. They ask whether Independent Republicans at Councils or Stormont could lead other nationalist representatives on prisoner and justice issues. It has been suggested that Gerry McGeough’s arrest at the vote count and imprisonment at Maghaberry had more to do with his election campaign than with events thirty years earlier. It must now be asked whether Ivor Bell’s real crime is daring to lend his name to Ciaran Mulholland’s campaign.
This case opens a legal Pandora’s Box which will effect more than Ivor Bell. If the Boston tapes are deemed credible evidence, sufficient to imprison Ivor Bell, should we not expect the same evidence to be used against others? Who else is named on these tapes?
Once we had the ability to turn every British injustice into a campaign which made the crown end, or at least pay a costly political price for its injustices. The Blanketmen were locked away in Long Kesh but they broke Thatcher and her attempt to brand them criminals. Internment, Castlereagh Confessions, Supergrass trials and more were broken by such campaigns. We highlighted the wrong, enlisted support from human rights activists, and gradually forced nationalist representatives to stand with us or be proven complicit in British injustice.
Can we unite to fight and defeat this injustice now? Must others stand in the dock because we lost our ability to do so?
Gerry McGeough Exposing the OTR Cover-Up
John McDonagh (JM) and Sandy Boyer (SB) interview former IRA Volunteer Gerry McGeough (GM) via telephone from Co. Tyrone about the on-the-run cover-up and controversy.
Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
Saturday 8 March 2014
JM: There's one particular topic that we've been covering for over twenty years and that is the plight of Irish Republican Gerry McGeough from Co. Tyrone.
We covered it when he was gaoled in Germany. He was put into the same places where the Baader-Meinhof were kept.
He was gaoled here in the United States for Irish Republican activity and when he went back to Ireland he had sought out to say: Can I return to Co. Tyrone (and) raise my family?
And he was told: Sure! Come back.
And lo and behold Gerry goes back. He wants to get involved with politics. He goes to run for office. Coming out after voting in an election in The Six Counties he was arrested and eventually did two years because of the Good Friday Agreement.
This was an agreement negotiated by Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams, you could say two corner boys from Belfast and Derry who were running sort of a neighborhood watch scheme in their two areas because both of them really said they were never in the IRA.
And so what they negotiated was that they would turn over their weapons in order to administer British rule in The Six Counties. That part has really worked.
But they also made other promises ... that people that were on-the-run –
you know ...
we'll find out if you can come back ...
And if you support the peace process we'll get you a letter from the British government and you can come back...
But Gerry, the whole hypocrisy of all this that's going on is that this was covered many, many years ago in your trial – about these letters - and the Loyalists are running around saying: we never heard about these letters - we never heard about pardons from the Queen.
How do you feel now about the letters being revoked and that people are going to be charged now that have come back?
GM: First of all, Hello, John! How are you? It's a delightful coincidence that today, March the 8th, actually marks the seventh anniversary of my arrest in 2007 as I left the Count Centre in Omagh Co. Tyrone having stood as an independent candidate in that election – a Republican candidate - and among the many ironies involved was that they said when they arrested me ... when asked why they didn't arrest me sooner...like over the previous number of years when I lived in Tyrone ... they said they couldn't find me! Even though I was probably the most high-profile candidate in that particular election itself.
First of all, I certainly feel vindicated. And I'd like to extend that I think, to yourself, Sandy and Kate and my good friends, Helen McClafferty and Martin Galvin, and all of those in the AOH and all their supporters should all feel absolutely vindicated by this.
Because we have been saying all along that there was a cover-up.
That these immunities – for want of a better term - these letters of comfort as they're calling them over here - these pardons, whatever you want to call them – that they existed!
And yet that was being denied.
Denied so that I could be railroaded into gaol.
Kept in prison under the most horrific of circumstances.
Now bear in mind most of the time I spent there was during a dirty protest and as you know I have seven stents in my heart. I had to undergo heart operations while in prison and return to a wing where excrement was smeared all over the cells. Where urine/faeces mixes were laying in puddles all around the wings.
I honestly believed these people hoped that I would die in there. But thanks be to God we survived it.
And lo and behold all their lies and corruption is now being exposed.
And I think this is really at the heart of the whole thing: the cover-up that has been going on.
At any given time during that whole nightmare which my family and I went through the Sinn Féin leadership could have put an end to it.
They easily could have done it.
We had asked for Gerry Kelly to come into court during the various hearings and had he done so - within five minutes the case would have collapsed - had he done what he eventually did in the Downey case in London a few weeks ago.
So they effectively sacrificed me. I became a political sacrifice in the interest of secret deals.
And of course when we pointed that out at the time - and you know this yourself John and Martin and Helen and all of the rest know it - and I'm actually only beginning to find out the details now because having been in prison I was very much cut off from what was going on – but - letters were published in the United States to the effect that we were being silly in saying what we were saying.
And now as it transpires it's exactly correct what we had been saying.
And it is the Irish-American community which must take the credit here.
Because over here in Ireland people living under the yoke of Sinn Féin and the British and the loyal Unionists and all the rest of it cannot be speaking out or are afraid to speak out – you guys have no fear! And you said what had to be said. And you repeated it and you shouted it over and over again. And now the egg on their faces because that's exactly what has happened.
And of course the whole reason behind this was to ensure that there be no political alternative. That there be no political voice in opposition to Sinn Féin, which is of course controlled by the whole British system and all the rest of it.
But as it has transpired that voice has been able to echo and survive over in the United States and elsewhere. And now around the world people are beginning to redeem the courage that is traditional in the Irish psyche and speak out again.
Because freedom will not be denied.
We must have our freedom in this country. And that's what this is all about. The Irish nation deserves to exist.
The English establishment needs to go home. Go back to England where they belong.
Continue with all their filth and corruption over there but leave us alone.
And we, the people in the Nation of Ireland and our great Diaspora around the world, we can run our own affairs. And no amount of cover-ups, no amount of sleaze and corruption is going to prevent that from happening. Sooner or later – that's going to happen.
Now I'm a very patient man. I endured the slings and the arrows of character assassination, of smear and you name it ... but we persevered.
And I'd like particularly, particularly to thank yourself John, and Sandy and Kate and all of WBAI because I know, and you know as well, that you came under tremendous pressure not to have me on your programme and you balked against that and you went ahead.
Part of the smear campaign against me ... and give me a minute to say this because this is very, very important and I want to put this on record:
Before I was arrested in 2007, there had been months upon months of deliberate character assassination/smear on the internet and all the rest of it. One bozo, a pseudo-journalist by the name of Scott Millar - a reputed worshiper of Gerry Adams - wrote an article, a piece in a rag called Searchlight - which is known over here to be a front for MI5, British intelligence – in which he smeared and attacked me. He called me a fascist. He called me a racist ... all those things.
Anyone who knows me knows that's not true and I'm happy to go on record here by saying: I am not a fascist. I'm not a racist. My wife is from Spain and I do not tolerate ... I am a very decent Irish Nationalist and Irish Republican and I listen to everybody and anyone who knows me can testify to that.
But nevertheless they ran that campaign against me. And in his nonsensical article this guy Scott Millar, who had mentioned my being gaoled in The States, said that I had been in touch with the Aryan Nation while being a Republican prisoner in America.
But he didn't check his facts too well because he said that I was in touch with them while in Louisiana.
Now if anyone wanted to find it out - Oakdale, Louisiana – the prison I was in there when I was in the United States for Irish Republican activities - was peopled only by non-Americans, by foreign prisoners, finishing off their sentences and awaiting deportation. I was there with a few other Irish Republicans from South Armagh and that was the end of it. It would have actually been physically impossible to meet Aryan Nation people there. It was absolutely and totally impossible.
So this is the kind of smear that was run against me. Everything they could do to commit character assassination in the hope that I would back down. But I refused to do so. I ran for elections later on and all the rest of it's history.
So they finally railroaded me into gaol through a corrupt show trial using a British Diplock court.
And throughout that whole period Sinn Féin could have had me released but they sat quietly.
And this is the crux of what this is all about.
The NIO refused, the Northern Ireland Office which is part of the British government, refused to disclose information that they had, effectively denying that they had it, saying that these immunities existed.
And one of the British Secretaries of State, Shaun Woodward, when we, through the good offices of Suzanne Breen, an excellent journalist, broke the story in The Sunday Tribune on March 7th I think it was (in) 2010; she broke the story about this particular series of pardons and so forth. He immediately dragged himself out of bed on a Sunday morning, went on the radio and said it was utter nonsense! - and this was an English Pro-Consulate Secretary of State over here.
But of course it turns out now it was the truth.
So there has been an enormous cover-up. An absolutely enormous cover-up.
And as I have stated earlier and you guys have stated: it was done as part and parcel of ... I was a political sacrifice to be sacrificed in the interest of the deal between the British government, Sinn Féin and with the acceptance of the Unionists. Whether they care to deny it or not is neither here nor there.
SB: Gerry, thank you..
GM: And this obviously leaves me feeling personally vindicated but as I said I have no sense of anger or jeering or bitterness or anything of that nature.
As an Irish patriot I know we have a long journey to make. We have to be courageous. Sometimes we'll be isolated. Sometimes we'll be mocked and smeared but that's no excuse not to get going on. We have to progress further. We will now need to start thinking clearly here.
We need to say to ourselves: Do we want this stinking carcass of Sinn Féin blocking the road to Irish unity? Because that's effectively is what it's doing.
What we must do now as Irish patriots and as part of the Irish diaspora is decide among ourselves: Are we going to remain fragmented? Are we going to spend our time arguing amongst ourselves? Or are we going to form ourselves into some cohesive, political grouping that can affect change? Real change.
And that change ultimately has to be the English establishment leaving Ireland.
And the bitter irony of all of this is the fact that here in The Six Coounties we, the Nationalist people, are the majority.
But there's just a bundle of clowns representing us who are serving their own interests and they won't take on the English establishment or the planters who are effectively blocking that Irish unity.
And people are beginning to get very, very impatient here but, having said that, we still must adopt a strategy. And I think I can see it coalescing, slowly but surely. If you look to the Bogside years ago they could see what we were up to. A political victory was going to coalesce around while the actual election itself was really neither here nor there...
JM: Gerry, I'm going to have to cut-in now because we're in fund raising. But listen, I thank you for coming on and when we get back to normal programming we're going to have you back on again.
GM: Thank you, John and God bless!
JM: And that was Gerry McGeough talking about how he royally got screwed by Provisional Sinn Féin who negotiated this deal to bring back people who were on-the-run from The Six Counties. And it just shows how the British government took Sinn Féin to the cleaners – cleaned their clock – that they now have them administering British rule in Ireland, that their former supporters cannot go back to The Six Counties and Long Kesh – which they hoped to make into a museum like you have down in Dublin - the funding's been all cut by that from the Loyalists. So you see the dilemma now that they're in and about what their supporters are going through. (ends 1:49 PM EST)
"The Truth Shall Set You Free"
...Well, maybe not all of the time
by Helen McClafferty
March 28, 2014
Below is an article by SF MLA Gerry Kelly on “the new beginning to policing…fair and impartial, free from partisan political control”. Interesting, Mr Kelly, since the majority of arrests, incarcerations and interments without trial has been due to the PSNI/RUC’s relentless pursuit of republicans on alleged offences dating back to the troubles post Good Friday Agreement. Mr. Kelly goes on to say…”with the PSNI replacing the RUC in 2001”. Did you say, “Replacing the RUC”? Don’t you mean replacing the RUC’s name with the name PSNI in order to protect the guilty? This may be an old cliché, but it still holds true – ‘a rose by any other name is still a rose’ Mr. Kelly.
“The GFA, which created the political architecture to facilitate a peaceful and democratic path to the re-unification of our country”…Mr. Kelly, there is nothing “democratic” about republicans still being pursued, arrested and interned without trial. The illegal detention of Marian Price, Martin Corey, Stephen Murney and the highly publicized arrest, trial and incarceration of Gerry McGeough on 32 year old charges to name a few, was far from democratic. In fact, it was down right undemocratic and it happened on Sinn Fein’s watch, as they were now part of the “new policing structures and accountability in the last 6 years”.
While Mr. Kelly’s article below practically applauds the PSNI/RUC and suggest we here in America should embrace them with open arms, the PSNI/RUC continue their relentlessly pursuit of republicans while the security forces are left unscathed, unprosecuted and protected by the British government, DUP and Sinn Fein in spite of the part they played in the murder of innocent Catholics through acts of collusion with loyalist death squads during the same time period as those republicans who have been or are being arrested right now on alleged offenses dating as far back as 1972.
Mr. Kelly says that “Given such a scenario, protests against joint PSNI-GARDA participation in an event such as the St. Patrick’s Day parade-a manifestation of Irishness and Irish culture-is unwarranted and has been met with a degree of surprise and nonchalance by the nationalist and republican community in the North of Ireland. Oh, really? If that was truly the case, Mr. Kelly, you wouldn’t have taken the time out of your busy day to write this article and have it distributed throughout America by Friends of Sinn Fein USA if you really believed that. Secondly, no one protested the GARDA. They protested the PSNI/RUC.
In reading this article over a few times, I believe I am starting to understand the real reason behind why Mr. Kelly wrote this article in the first place. It certainly wasn’t to tell us that “the protests were met with a degree of nonchalance in the north”. No, there is more to it. Reasoning tells me that the PSNI/RUC invite by the parade committee and the tweets by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness supporting the PSNI/RUC marching in the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade ignited a rather large flame under the majority of Irish-Americans who support the cause of Ireland’s self-determination and were outraged by this stunt.
You see, prior to the PSNI/RUC marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and post GFA, the media, the British government, and now Sinn Fein, have been able to demonize those who think and speak outside the box. Good people, with good intentions, who have been involved in the cause of Irish freedom and the re-unification of Ireland for more than 20-30 years, who dare to question, criticize or challenge some of Sinn Fein’s policies are labeled “dissidents”. A buzz word deliberately used to most likely alienate them from the heard. However, this time, Sinn Fein can’t label us ALL dissidents because too many of us, from all different Irish-American groups, including solid supporters of Sinn Fein, spoke out in protest against the PSNI/RUC marching in an Irish Catholic parade. Therefore, Sinn Fein is now trying to explain away why they supported the invite to begin with and I see this article as nothing more than a form of “damage-control” and trying to keep us Irish-Americans in our place.
Saturday March 8, 2014
Radio Free Eireann interviews Gerry McGeough about the secret amnesty agreement between Sinn Fein and the British government.
Click here to listen to the show
March 6, 2014
In reply to "Brush Denies Claims He Knew About Republican Amnesties, March 5, 2014
FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
I believe it is fair to say that it is Mr. Brush who is on “cloud cuckoo land "with regard to denying that DUP members knew nothing about amnesty letters for On the Runs during Mr. McGeough’s on again off again four year trial.
Mr. Brush, who was at attendance with other DUP people at the trial of Mr. McGeough, must have been mentally disconnected from the proceedings as well as the other DUP people struggling to stay awake, as these facts were introduced at the trial by Mr. McGeough’s attorney and written into the court transcripts along with vast media coverage on the issue dating back to March 7, 2010. It is also important to mention that a witness at the trail of McGeough, a loyalist and member of the Progressive Unionist Party, William Plum Smith, gave testimony on behalf of Mr. McGeough underscoring these facts.
Mr. Brush, a former member of the UDR, needs to get his facts straight and in my opinion, Brush and the DUP leadership need to get out of its time warp, get into real time, and start doing grown up politics with the rest of the political parties in NI.
February 26, 2014
Just as a reminder:
Taken from the freegerry.com web site:
Now that the "Downey" case has opened a can of worms it now proves that the NIO, SF and the Unionists were complicit in Gerry McGeough's politically motivated arrest and incarceration.
The letter below was sent to Mr. Gerry Adams and to Mr. Kelly on February 13, 2012 from the Free Gerry McGeough Campaign Committee Chairpersons:
THE LAST THREE PARAGRAPHS TELL IT ALL!
February 13, 2012:
REPLY TO SINN FEIN FROM GERRY McGEOUGH CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
Recently several prominent supporters of the campaign to free Gerry McGeough forwarded emails sent from Sinn Fein for our comments. These emails say that Sinn Fein has called for Gerry McGeough’s release from Maghaberry and therefore our justice campaign should “focus our efforts on the British government, which is responsible for his imprisonment, and on the Irish government, which is a co-signatory to the Weston Park agreement.”
Gerry McGeough has been imprisoned by the British for more than a year at Maghaberry. Clearly the combined weight of court challenges, calls from political parties including Sinn Fein , together with pressure through any and all other political mechanisms, have not yet been sufficient to compel the British to free him. Like any other justice campaign, we can only try for greater efforts by any and every source open to us, until the British give Gerry McGeough the freedom to which we all agree he is entitled.
The primary focus of efforts to pressure the British crown has been legal challenges in British courts, thus far including an abuse of process application, a Diplock trial defense, appeals, and judicial review. Even now a ruling on his pending judicial review is imminent, and could mean freedom for Gerry McGeough.
Given what has already occurred in his case, and indeed in the long history of British courts dealing with Irish Republican cases, there is no assurance of justice for Gerry McGeough. If the crown judge rules against him, the only alternative means of increasing pressure on the British will be to ask more from political parties. As a party which includes a Deputy First Minister, and whose backing helped grant David Ford a renewed term as Stormont Justice Minister, Sinn Fein’s help would be pivotal.
However, the campaign is by no means limited to Sinn Fein. Eamon O’Cuiv, of Fianna Fail, and several SDLP members have visited Gerry McGeough at Maghaberry, and pledged support. Their support was only enlisted when members of Sinn Fein who support Gerry McGeough advised that their requests within party channels for effective rather than token action were stonewalled.
We then received emails and read published letters criticizing Gerry McGeough and our campaign, for not trusting exclusively Sinn Fein; and for accepting help from Fianna Fail and the SDLP despite past policies of those parties regarding Republicans. We will continue to lobby all potential channels of support that might assist in pressuring the British crown directly or through the Irish government.
Gerry McGeough is imprisoned by the British on charges that he joined the IRA in 1975 and that he was wounded in an IRA engagement with a member of the notorious British Ulster Defense Regiment, during the time of the Hunger Strike of 1981.The evidence trotted out against him included medical testimony and photographs of bullet wounds he suffered as an IRA Volunteer, as well as nearly 8 years of imprisonment for IRA activities in Germany and the United States. Given this background, and Britain’s desire to use this case as a precedent against other Republicans, it is difficult to see any mechanism for compelling the crown to release Gerry McGeough without Sinn Fein intensifying its efforts.
We also received inquiries about how much they had already done for Gerry McGeough. We hesitated before making this reply. The campaign is supported by a broad spectrum. It includes Sinn Fein members and party supporters, as well as others with very different views. The campaign is united by the one aim of freedom for Gerry McGeough. We want to work constructively with Sinn Fein and all others who can help win his freedom. We have no other agenda.
We were reluctant to clarify the record regarding Gerry McGeough, since an honest response might create further difficulties or even be cited as a reason to do nothing more on the issue. It now appears, given the decision to publish this correspondence in AP/RN, that we have no alternative.
We wish to acknowledge again that after Gerry McGeough’s arrest in 2007, Michelle Gildernew wrote one of the character reference letters which were introduced during his bail hearing, and this letter was helpful to McGeough’s solicitors. On a couple of occasions, during the four years of court proceedings, members of Sinn Fein attended the trial for Gerry and his co-defendant.
However there was a telling disparity between these actions and the far more frequent, vocal, and visible interventions by prominent DUP members, led by Arlene Foster and Maurice Morrow against Gerry McGeough.
DUP intervention, climaxed by Foster and Morrow’s presence in court to influence and celebrate the verdict, was patently obvious to the public and Diplock judge and conveyed a clear signal that the case against McGeough meant far more to the DUP, than to any other political faction
It is also appreciated that Sinn Fein members, most recently Ray McCartney in December, visited Gerry McGeough amongst other Republican prisoners at Maghaberry and said that his case, among others, and the protest against brutal H-Block like strip-searches, were high on the agenda. However, David Ford, who presides over these injustices, then had his term extended by Sinn Fein in partnership with the DUP, and was thereby empowered to continue these injustices.
We accept that the British broke the Weston Park agreement by jailing Gerry McGeough on thirty year old charges. Britain’s stance in prosecuting former IRA members while conferring an apparent amnesty for murders by British troopers or crown constables is hypocritical. Sinn Fein, better than anyone, knows the difference between token statements meant to do no more than placate supporters, and effective action on issues of importance. Without Sinn Fein, as the representative of former IRA members during these talks, demanding that “unambiguous” pledges be honored, it is apparent that the crown feels free to break its word with impunity.
Gerry McGeough’s solicitors urged the British crown court to follow the reading of Weston Park advanced by Sinn Fein. The British and Stormont justice ministry rejected this interpretation out of hand. The trial was suspended pending an abuse of process hearing. No one from Sinn Fein took the witness stand on Gerry McGeough’s behalf. His solicitors, who have strong contacts with Sinn Fein, were forced to call a loyalist, William Smith, to testify for Gerry McGeough. The application was denied and the Diplock trial continued. We are left to speculate whether testimony from any Sinn Fein representative about what was agreed at Weston Park might have altered the outcome and halted the trial before Gerry McGeough was tried and jailed.
Now an application for a judicial review has been lodged, and a decision is pending. In addition to the Weston Park pledges, McGeough contends that he should be eligible for immediate release because the 8 years in jail in Germany and America should be applied to satisfy the 2 year GFA release requirements. His solicitors cited a dozen comparable cases where Republicans imprisoned in other jurisdictions had their time credited by means of a pardon (Royal Prerogative of Mercy). They were able to obtain and produce copies of these pardons which were attached as exhibits in support.
In making this application, Gerry McGeough, in a sworn affidavit, said that while an elected member of the Sinn Fein Ard Chomairle, he often spoke to Gerry Kelly on the negotiations regarding his own case as well as other On-the-Runs (OTRS). McGeough attested that he was specifically told by Gerry Kelly that he was on the list of cases being negotiated, and finally told that he was free to go home to Tyrone without fear of arrest or charges. Gerry Kelly says that “this was not the case.”
Gerry McGeough was so sure of this conversation that he not only returned to Tyrone for the first time in years, but began public preparations to move his family there, including applying for planning permission, building a house, enrolling his children in school and moving around openly. McGeough’s solicitors contend that he was removed from the list some time after he left Sinn Fein, and arrested because he ran as an Independent Republican.
After this application was argued, the crown judge directed that the record be kept open for an affidavit from Gerry Kelly. Kelly had previously declined to cooperate with McGeough’s solicitors in preparing an affidavit that would have supported him. Our understanding is that Kelly’s solicitors on January 12th sent a letter which was such that McGeough’s solicitors had to incorporate it in a submission that made reference to the “obvious tension” between McGeough’s and Kelly’s positions.
Gerry McGeough, now in his 50s, has suffered heart attacks since his arrest in 2007. Last week he was hospitalized again for his heart ailment and will need further surgery. He is separated from his wife and four young children and imprisoned at Maghaberry in conditions which can only exacerbate his medical problems. He is in jail on 30 year old charges that were clearly part of the IRA’s struggle against British rule. It is difficult to imagine the frustrations that even someone who has served 8 years in jail, must feel to be held in a British prison in the conditions at Maghaberry on decades old charges, in the midst of what we are often told is a new political dispensation. It must be especially hurtful, when members of Sinn Fein or supportive organizations in America, advise that they have been discouraged from campaigning for more pressure to free Gerry McGeough, and are told to “focus their efforts elsewhere”
FREE GERRY McGEOUGH CAMPAIGN
February 25, 2014
The Free Gerry McGeough Campaign has always maintained its position that the arrest of Gerry McGeough in 2007 and his 2 year incarceration in Maghaberry prison was most definitely politically motivated.
How a court hearing revealed a scheme to allow on the runs Irish republicans to return to UK
Below are excerpts from articles written and published on the "freegerry.com" website during our campaign to bring about justice for Gerry McGeough.
March 7, 2010
In a sensational front page story the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune newspaper has exposed a secret deal between the British government and Sinn Féin over the granting of "Royal Pardons" to dozens of "on-the-run" IRA members, due solely to their loyalty to the Sinn Féin leadership.
The news broke just a day ahead of Gerry's scheduled appearance before a Diplock Court in Belfast on a series of Troubles related charges, some dating back 35 years.
According to the report there exists a list of 216 on-the-runs. Gerry's name is among them, but only 47 have been granted this special treatment. Several of these were wanted for killings and bombings carried out during the Troubles, but have now been given assurances that no charges will be brought against them.
The news comes amid growing anger among nationalists in the East Tyrone area at the discrimination involved in Gerry's case and the complete indifference of the Sinn Féin leadership towards his family's plight.
Former IRA men 'given immunity' in secret deal
Ex-IRA gun-runner and former Sinn Féin ard comhairle member, Gerry McGeough, goes on trial in Belfast tomorrow charged with IRA membership in 1975 and the attempted murder of a UDR man in 1981.
In a bizarre case, McGeough will become the first republican on trial for historical ... more
Woodward denies IRA 'on the runs' given pardons (BBC News)
Tyrone republican Gerry McGeough told the Sunday Tribune 47 of the 216 fugitives were told they could return. Mr McGeough, who is to stand trial for IRA ... more
April 21, 2011
“the McGeough case is a blight on the Good Friday Agreement and those sworn to uphold it. Reputable over-seas newspapers have confirmed that a deal was made between the British government and Sinn Fein for ex-provos 'on the run' to receive 'Royal Pardons' in '98 and McGeough was one of those 50”.
Go to the "freegerry.com" website for more details on this subject matter. There are seven (7) years worth of documentation calling McGeough's arrest and incarceration politically motivated by both ends; not to mention the seven years of persecution the McGeough family was subjected to during his almost 4 year trial and 2 year incarceration.
Apparent Collapse of the Haass Initiative
1/6/14 by Helen McClafferty
The apparent collapse of the Haass Initiative once again shows that the Unionists have a very effective veto over all and any developments in the Six-Counties that might smack of progress for the Nationalist community.
Over the past year or so they have managed to block or otherwise undermine a long list of projects that may have been of benefit to Nationalists. These include a motorway from the Monaghan/Tyrone border to Derry City, a bridge linking counties Louth and Down and the Long Kesh development to name but some.
Towards the end of December, meanwhile, the DUP Stormont Finance Minister, Simon Hamilton, managed to outmaneuver the Stormont Agriculture Minister, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, and prevent the transfer of £110 million in funds to cash starved, largely Nationalist community projects. Ironically, Hamilton used a Catholic Diplock Court judge to get his way. In typical timid-style Sinn Féin’s O’Neill did not challenge the ruling.
Part of the problem facing Nationalists, who are now the majority in the Six-Counties, lies in the fact that they have pathetically poor political leadership. Those supposedly protecting Nationalist interests have come to resemble a huddle of dazed, dopey sheep standing petrified while vicious Unionist dogs run rings around them.
A more significant problem is that under British-controlled Stormont Nationalists will forever be kept “in their place”. The time has now come to think outside the box.
I recently came across an old article which I found very interesting, considering that the Sinn Féin strategy to bring about a United Ireland has now collapsed into a hopeless mess. It was written by Gerry McGeough in December, 1995 when he was an Irish Republican political prisoner here in the United States. The article was one of Gerry’s very popular Éireann go Brách columns, which he wrote for The Irish People during his time in the States.
I asked Gerry if I could reproduce it and he agreed. Re-reading it he noted that most of it still holds true even after almost twenty years. This was long before the Good Friday Agreement and he admits that he didn’t think then that the Irish people would have abandoned Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution so easily, even though they were mostly symbolic in nature.
He also said that the proposed new Super-Councils would provide a better vehicle for Secession than the Westminster constituencies outlined in the original. He emphasized that it could be achieved through peaceful political action and that there would be no need for standing armies in the current context. Otherwise, he feels that the idea still has merit.
I think so too and hope that it will spark some kind of debate and much-needed new thinking on Irish independence.
The Need to Secede
By Gerry McGeough
Futurologists, those sober-minded individuals who analyze current trends in politics, finance, commerce, demographics, sociology and so forth in order to predict future developments in society, must find themselves in the realm of the opaque where the six counties are concerned. Such is the mixed cauldron of variables there right now that standard procedures of divination are unlikely to yield much in the way of enlightenment.
Indeed, futurologists might as well abandon their regular modus operandi and just haul out the chicken entrails for all the foresight they’re liable to receive. One gut feeling’s as good as the next in the current context.
That said, and in spite of all the contradictions, strains, backtracking, posturing and confusion so evidently inherent in the peace process, a broadly discernible albeit ostensibly unfocused development is emerging. At its most rudimentary, this would seem to imply the concept of an Assembly eventually evolving from a series of protracted talks. Talks, of course, being a euphemism for negotiations of labyrinthine complexity; not forgetting a liberal dash of the histrionics and temper tantrums so beloved by unionist politicians.
Participants to such an Assembly – Lord preserve us lest anyone should refer to it as being “Stormont-like” – would, presumably be elected representatives drawn from the various hues of nationalist and unionist opinion within the six counties. Like all practical politicians, the need to ply their trade would override any inhibitions about violating those ever-irksome earlier stances on this and that. Besides, wasn’t “Principle” a book by Machiavelli or something?! By Assembly time, most of the holy cattle would have been already packed off to the abattoir in any case.
The main thing would be that politicians could do what they do best, namely: obfuscate, legislate (to some devolved extent at least), debate, speechify, pretend whatever needs to be pretended at all and any given times and, of course, express outrage at the behaviour of opponents while masking relief at not being on the skewer themselves. Now, what else was there? . . . Oh yes, serve constituents, naturally.
Added to this would be the lure of being in a position to appropriate slices of the lucrative flow of international funds towards the dreams and schemes of needy, deserving, and, above all, loyal voters. Such an Assembly, under British auspices with perhaps some joint authority input from Dublin, all within the European context, could roll along nicely for several political lifetimes, thank you very much indeed. Hey. If it leads to a united Ireland, then fine! Since we’re all presumed utilitarian at heart, I’m sure everyone could accommodate themselves to whatever arrangement might be necessary in the interim.
A few years from now, though, committed Irish nationalists might want to explore the merits of the secession factor. “Secession” isn’t quite the term when referring to areas of Ireland under British occupation, but it’ll suffice for now. This would entail the overwhelmingly nationalist areas of occupied Ulster simply declaring their independence from Britain. These areas would include all of Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, Derry City, most of County Derry, North Antrim, West Belfast, South Down, South Armagh and considerable chunks of Mid-and North Armagh. In short, most of the six-county land area! Since the British hacked up our country on a county-by-county basis during Partition, what’s to stop us taking it back bit by bit, unpalatable as that may be for most of us, if all else fails?
In the wake of a carefully conducted, efficient political campaign on the issue, a Westminster general election could provide the opportunity for putting the secession program into effect. Secessionist candidates standing in constituencies covering each of the areas mentioned, would make it clear that once elected they would fulfil the wishes of their voters by withdrawing their districts from the so-called United Kingdom – having an obvious mandate to do so.
At that point, they could register their independent status at the United Nations and apply to join the rest of Ireland to form a single political unit. This, of course, would be a mere formality provided Dublin retains Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution. Either way, the newly independent areas of Ulster would be entitled to raise a standing army to defend themselves against British aggression.
Britain, of course, would never tolerate or permit such a state of affairs and would undoubtedly clamp down on subsequent civil disobedience from the self-liberated denizens of Ulster. So be it! The Irish nationalist cause would be back on the agenda once more and the freedom struggle a burning issue again; this time for a new generation of Irish patriots and our overseas Diaspora. Could the secession issue become a challenge for courageous visionaries in years to come? A new test for the famed stamina, tenacity and ingenuity of our people perhaps? Don’t bother to ask the futurologists – just read Irish history! Meantime, back to Stormont! Éireann go brách!