A brief Interview with Martin Galvin, Esq: What It Means For Gerry McGeough If Pronounced Guilty

Tonight’s Pensive Quill features an interview with Martin Galvin. It was carried out by guest writer Helen McClafferty.

There is a great deal of speculation and assumptions floating around out there in cyber space regarding what type of sentence Gerry McGeough is facing. I asked Martin Galvin, a prominent New York attorney helping out on Gerry's case, to explain what the possibility is if pronounced guilty.
Martin explained that:

Under the terms of the deal, if pronounced guilty, Gerry McGeough would first be sentenced to a lengthy jail term. While he would be eligible for early release, after 2 years, (even for someone like Gerry who endured a notorious German prison and 3 years in a federal penitentiary) this is not a minor thing for a man in his 50s with a bad heart serving time in the conditions at Maghaberry with young children.

Martin went on to say that:

The problem with this type of sentence is the fact it is "a release on license or parole", which can be revoked at any time for little or no reason other than the constabulary claims to have intelligence information that you are associating with people they dislike. (eg Terry McCafferty). McCafferty was jailed a few weeks after his release. It was claimed there was intelligence information that he was associating with dissident Republicans. After 15 months it was admitted that there had been no intelligence information against him. This could mean a quick return to Maghaberry prison under the original sentence.

For those of you not familiar with the Terry McCafferty case, the following was taken from the Irish News, Monday, March 29, 2010. The paper reported:

"Alleged Real IRA leader” Terry McCafferty was released from Maghaberry Prison after the Sentence Review Commissions ruled his detention illegal on the basis that the case against him was unreliable. McCafferty had been released on licence in November 2008, half-way through a 12-year sentence for possession of explosives, but, as noted at the time, in December 2008 the Secretary of State revoked his parole licence and he was re-arrested at Belfast International Airport. Since then there has been a legal battle over the case, which included a December 2009 Court of Appeal ruling rejecting a legal challenge to the decision to revoke McCafferty’s licence.
As part of that legal battle the attorney general appointed a special advocate to represent McCafferty at hearings which he was not allowed to attend because of sensitive intelligence material presented to the commission by security agencies. The case took a dramatic turn earlier this month when the special advocate announced he was withdrawing from the case, claiming he was not being allowed to properly represent the alleged dissident. However, McCafferty’s lawyer Paul Pierce was last night informed that the sentence review commission had recommended the prisoner’s immediate release. Welcoming the move, Mr. Pierce said: “My client has been held in prison without any valid evidence for the last 15 months. He will be considering a civil action against the secretary of state for this illegal detention.”

I hope the above information helps people to have a better understanding of exactly how serious the consequences are facing Gerry at this time.

I cannot impress enough upon republicans that if Gerry is convicted, not only will it serve to prove the British government did not hold up their end of the Good Friday Agreement, but it will now set a precedent, going forward, that all republicans will now be in jeopardy if the RUC/PSNI decide you are next.

For more legal information on Gerry's case, you can download and listen to Martin Galvin on WBAI's Radio Free Eireann, by using this link and scrolling down to Saturday, September 18, 2010 show 1:00pm: http://archives.wbai.org


  1. Helen, I do not think the Brits ever felt they had to adhere to the 'Belfast Agreement'

    They got the conformers through the door with the carrots for anyone else it's the stick.

    Gerry Mc Geough is where he is today because of his departure from Sinn Fein no other reason.

  2. Yeah I agree with Nuala here, however psf/prm members must realise those with history so to speak,may remain fairly safe as long as they stay within the fold of the leadership,a similar situation with the sticks in the 70,s safety in the pack,however here now lies the big difference, those members now must attend to each and every whim of the leadership especially Adams,so eventually when called to put their necks on the line they dont have any choice,go to gaol for Adams or go to gaol because of Adams,a modern form of slavery and one of their own making,the older members of prm really need to take a look at the tightrope Adams and others have left them to walk,and ask themselves is this really where they want to be walking. a political highwire without a safety harness.people really need to wake up before its their turn for the early knock.

  3. Fionnuala,
    I totally agree with you.

    Right to the point. They are between a rock and a hard place and that is what the Stormont Agreement was really all about. What surprises me is that the majority of republicans went along with it. How were they so blind? I started to question in what direction Sinn Fein was headed back in 1994 with the cease-fire.

  4. The scary thing in all this Helen is even members of the prm who have walked away wanting just to get on with their lives,if they have any kind of involvement history, then they could be called upon by their ex bosses,refusal would,nt be an option,the membership of the prm have been well and truly shafted by the leadership,who as Nuala said were enticed with the lure of "power" and privilige,and the fools took the bait,I get the feeling that every so often the brits will require a sacrificial lamb,and that may even come from the ranks of prm,and the leadership will be powerless to lift a finger to help,bit like turkeys waiting for christmas if you ask me.what Adams and co have signed the republican community up to is an open prison,with those in priviliged positions and their cronies acting as warders,restrictions in travel,ie to the states, jobs,etc,and as Martin Galvin has pointed out the threat of all those out on licence are liable to recall,this sure is some new start or a chance to move on,scary stuff.

  5. Yesterday's Tribune carried an article stating that Gerry's trial has been postponed by 6 weeks to enable him to recover from surgery. That is no longer the case; he was informed this morning that the trial is to resume in 2 weeks.

    This urgency suggests that the predetermined outcome of the diplock trial is to have Gerry in gaol before xmas as the prosecutor already has boasted.

    Marty's comments above in regard to these vindictive prosecutions has been given added emphasis by reports of a man being lifted in Swatragh this morning to be questioned about the assassination of an RUC man in 1981.

  6. Gav,

    It is obvious now they want the trial done and over with before any demonstrations and more and more growing unrest among supporters of Gerry can get underway. Even a blind man can now see that the Signing of the Stormont Agreement was a death warrant to republicanism and to those who saw the writing on the wall in 1997 and would have no part of it. There has been a major sell out, my friend, and Sinn Fein was too stupid to see the writing on the wall then. I always felt Clinton, Ahern and Blair were the downfall of the republican movement. They can all claim they “helped to bring about peace in the north of Ireland", but they certainly didn’t include justice with it! In fact, if Gerry and Vincent don’t go free, Sinn Fein will have opened Pandora's box and now they are in no position to close it.

  7. i never read anywhere that martin
    galvin was opposed to american troops in anothers land, is he
    ashamed more about america in countries abroad or american soldiers who got there butts kicked
    in iraq,
    helen- are you saying that gerry
    mcgeough was to stupid to see the writing on the wall in 1997 or do
    you just mean us-
    peace has many faces but a bluffing hardliner as only one.

  8. Gav,

    they seem determined to get a pound of flesh. I notice that the man charged yesterday with the 1981 killing is also a republican who has publicly raised concerns about the policing question. Is there a mould being set?

  9. AM,
    "I notice that the man charged yesterday with the 1981 killing is also a republican who has publicly raised concerns about the policing question. Is there a mould being set"?

    Yes, I do believe so. I also feel that Sinn Fein and the Crown are under pressure from mainstream republicans who now think McGeough and McAnespie are getting the shaft and they are finally starting to question Sinn Fein on this issue. In addition, even mainstream media is starting to cover the case/trial again, and more often in these past few months. I believe the arrest of Mr. Kearny is a ploy by PSF and the Crown to take the onus off of them and give the impression they are “not singling out Gerry and Vincent” and that “Gerry’s trial is not politically motivated”. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see through this farce. The sad part of it is Mr. Kearny will now suffer the sins of the father too. I did notice, however, that Mr. Kearny was given bail immediately and Gerry had to jump through hoops for weeks until they would approve his bail? Interesting.

    BTW: Gerry’s trial date has been changed AGAIN. It went from October 11th to November 1st. I’m sure it will be changed again.

  10. michaelhenry,
    I mean YOU and the demi-gods you are so caught up and impressed with you can't see the forest for the trees!

  11. Anthony, I believe that the prospect of HET prosecutions and licensed release conditions will be used as a means of repression and control. Gerry McGeough and Vincie McAnespie are the first, high profile cases. It should also be noted that Vincie is still onboard with PSF and accompanied Adams at mass in Aughnacloy the same morning as Gerry McGeough had the confrontation with Adams at Eglish. This is very important if both are convicted, as appears likely. If it can happen to Vincey McAnespie then what message does that send to those within the PRM who would waver from the establishment line?

  12. A brief Interview with Martin Galvin,


    The man charged with the 1981 incident is a long time close friend of mine. While he seems certain to beat the charge given the flimsy nature of the evidence the question remains as to why he was ever charged to begin with. I think the answer is simple enough.