Campaign Has Taken Off

Tonight the Pensive Quill features a statement from the recently formed Justice for The McGeough Family

The general consensus that society here must now "move on" from the era of the troubles is being seriously undermined by an on-going legal saga that is causing growing resentment among nationalists in Tyrone and which is now starting to gain attention elsewhere across Ireland and beyond.

November 1st sees the resumption of a trial that is raising issues of major
concern to international Human Rights groups as well as bringing to light
matters that the British government, in particular, would prefer left untouched.
At the centre of the controversy is 52-year-old Gerry McGeough, a teacher and
published author from the Brantry area of South Tyrone, who is now the focus of political and legal storm that has dragged in the Swedish government, the U.S. and German authorities and a host of interested parties from several other
nations. Added to this is a growing litany of revelations that has opened a
Pandora's Box of secret deals and leaked intelligence memos that are beginning
to cause major angst within some political circles.

The saga began on March 8th, 2007, the day after the Stormont Assembly elections when Gerry McGeough, who had stood as an Independent Republican candidate in the Fermanagh/South Tyrone constituency, was dramatically arrested outside the Count centre in Omagh. The large media contingent gathered for the Tally just yards away ensured that the arrest became news headlines within the hour.

A convoy of PSNI vehicles took McGeough to Antrim, where he was eventually charged with membership of the IRA in 1975, when he was 16-years-old, and with wounding a part-time member of the UDR in 1981.

Shortly after McGeough's arrest, Vincent McAnespie, an Aughnacloy Building
contractor in his late forties, was also arrested following a raid on his home.
The charges against Mr. McAnespie were eventually reduced to possession of
weapons in 1981.

Explaining the unusual manner of Mr. McGeough's arrest, the PSNI claimed that they had been looking for him for years but had not been able to locate him
until his appearance at the Omagh Count Centre. Gerry McGeough has dismissed this as "ridiculous", pointing out that apart from the fact that he had been living openly in the North before the election, he was also one of the most high-profile candidates during the hustings, speaking regularly in public and making appearances on T.V. and live radio programmes. "My arrest was politically motivated", he says, "and sanctioned by the British government. If a political candidate was arrested during an election in Zimbabwe, or anywhere else, the British would be squealing about human rights abuses".

After three weeks in Maghaberry prison, McGeough's lawyers finally secured bail for him following a considerable legal struggle during which the Prosecution tried to prevent his release by claiming that he was wanted in Germany and the United States for Irish republican related activities in the 1980s. When these accusations were found to be groundless, he was released on strict bail conditions, most of which remain in place over three-and-a-half-years later.

McGeough, who lives with his Spanish-born wife and their four young children,
spent the next couple of years making monthly court appearances during which the case was constantly put back, sometimes for the flimsiest of reasons, such as
someone at the DPP had forgotten to post a letter crucial to the investigation.

During this time, the family had to put up with many hardships including having
British Army helicopter hover and clatter over their remote rural home at
eleven o'clock one night as small children struggled to sleep. They have also
had to endure phone-tapping, e-mail and regular mail interception and
disruption. In addition, because of the serious Troubles-related charges against
him, Gerry McGeough has been unable to find work as a teacher since his arrest.
In July, 2009, McGeough suffered a massive heart-attack and would have died but for the fact that he managed to get himself to hospital in time for emergency

That same month, the British government extended the use of the non-jury Diplock Court system for another two years. A notorious legacy of the Troubles, the Diplock Courts were supposed to have been finally phased out by 2009.

On March 8th, exactly three years after his arrest, Gerry McGeough was put on
trial before a Diplock Court in Belfast. The previous day, the Sunday Tribune
newspaper revealed that a secret deal had been done between the British
Government and Sinn Féin allowing up to fifty "on-the-run" republicans to
receive Royal Pardons since the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Shaun Woodward, Britain's then Secretary of State for the North, publicly
denounced the revelation as "nonsense". Shortly afterwards, McGeough's lawyers produced one of the Pardons and the Northern Ireland Office has since confirmed hat a deal had, in fact, been done.

Arguing that their client, who is one of the listed "on-the-runs", was being
discriminated against for political reasons, McGeough's legal team secured an
adjournment of the trial after three days while they sought the disclosure of
documents from the NIO for an "Abuse of Process" application.
Despite ample evidence of the existence of such material, a judge ruled that the
NIO need not disclose some forty-one relevant files in the interests of
national security". He also dismissed the "Abuse of Process" application and
the trial resumed on September 13th. That day consisted of having a PSNI
detective read a full chapter of one of Gerry's books to the court. He had
secured" the book from a library in Dublin. The novel itself, "Defenders", is a
work of fiction published in 1998. Incredibly, this has been accepted as
evidence" by the non-jury court.

The trial against Gerry McGeough, which is estimated to have cost £1 million to
date, was halted again the following day after McGeough was rushed to hospital
where he underwent a further heart procedure on September 17th. He has since
been released from hospital and the trial is set to resume on November 1st.
If convicted, he will spend two years in prison under the terms of the Good
Friday Agreement before being eligible for release on license. McGeough argues that his children, all of whom were born since the year 2000, are the real
victims of the Troubles. He describes how one morning last March, as he prepared to leave for court in Belfast, his seven-year-old son got up out of bed at .30am in order to share an idea he had.

He told me that he was going to dig a hole in one of the fields, put planks
over it and build a den so that he could hide Daddy. That way I wouldn't have to
to to jail", Gerry recalled. "Imagine a child lying awake at night worrying
about such things in the year 2010. This whole experience is a real trauma for
them. Why should they have to be put through this?

A staunch supporter of the Peace Process, McGeough believes that he is being
singled out simply because he stood in the elections and expressed a viewpoint
hat upset the powers that be. "Why are no British soldiers being put on trial for Bloody Sunday"?, he asks. ‘And what about those behind the Dublin/Monaghan bombings? Either the Troublesa re over or they're not. If not, then let's put everybody on trial before Diplock Courts.What's happening to us is just plain old anti-Irish Catholic discrimination. People can see this and they resent it". Gerry McGeough said.

Meanwhile, it has now emerged that the Prosecution intends to use alleged
political asylum application papers from Sweden as the mainstay of its evidence
against Mr. McGeough. The move has raised considerable alarm among international Human Rights groups, who argue that this violates the whole concept of political asylum and is an attack upon the rights of refugees everywhere.

We, the recently formed "Justice for the McGeough Family" pressure group, are
asking people from all walks of life to become involved in the campaign to
highlight the discrimination currently being perpetrated against Gerry McGeough.

Write in protest to your local media and politicians. Keep Gerry and his family
in your prayers and, if possible, turn up at the trial in Belfast, now scheduled
for November 1st, and show your solidarity.

This is a just cause that needs your support. Now is the time to speak out
against this injustice and we thank-you for your help.


  1. The action which Gerry Mc Geough has been charged with took place in 1981,now leaving aside for the moment whether or not Gerry was involved in that praticular incident,lets look at the whole incident in the round,in 1981 the prm were heavily engaged in armed actions against the forces of this state,fact,the prm prided itself with the discipline of its volunteers,ie little or no unauthorised actions took place without the premission of the Northern command.Now with the defeat of the prm and a negotiated deal allowing the leadership of the prm privileged positions ie ministerial seats in Stormont well paid community posts,royal pardons etc,the point I,m trying to make here is,with all that has happened in the last few years for the pps to prusue Gerry Mc Geough for actions whose culpability lies as much with those who gave the orders as those who carried out the actions,therefore why are we not seeing the leadership of the prm in the dock as well, those who still control the prm are same people who created this nightmare and a great deal if not all the responsibility lies with them to sort out this disgraceful prosecution of a former comrade.their silence and lack of action is a disgrace.

  2. Marty, those pardons were conditional and in keeping with the 'nose clean and clean sheet'mentality.
    Gerry Mc Geough dared to deviate from the party, therefore the royal pardon became null and void.
    As did Kelly's recollection of the fact he told him that it was alright to return.
    Colin Duffy's trial is also increasingly looking like a precarious piece ot tat!
    All that one in a billion chance scientifically planted evidence is now looking dangerously unsafe.
    For all of you lucky enough to ba able to listen to the Dark tonight enjoy. Unfortunately us Clonard fenians are blocked from RTE reception by the towering chapel spires.

  3. Nuala your welcome to come here to watch and listen hon

  4. I agree Nuala but the fact that Gerry is being tried for an action carried out by the prm ,then surely it follows that the leadership of the prm should be called to explain how an individual is now on trial for an action they must have sanctioned,the fact that Gerry is no longer within the prm fold is irrelevant,the leadership of this organisation provided the information on the target,they provided the weapons,and that makes them just as guilty,so if the boys and girls in the pps are determined to clear up this case then can we take it more arrests are to follow, and some very prominent people would be very very nervous, but then thats not going to happen is it.

  5. Marty, thank you so much. Albert has it all boxed off, apparently someone is recording it for us.
    The papers have been filled for years with the names of those involved in high profile robberies of files and cash.
    It's just the name of the game now pretence, ignorance and deceit.
    According to Brendan Hughes the rot had set in, in the mid 80s, must be putrid by now.
    Most of these districts are shit holes, all this claptrap about economic investment is just that.
    Hoods run the 'Lower Whack'
    They (The Top Provos)fiddled, psychologically, idologically and financially for years and now the rest of us are left to burn.

  6. Larry,

    you might reconsider. Some of that is as close to being libellous as it comes. Reword or something

  7. ok mackers, too much honesty get one arrested!!

  8. Larry,

    be as honest as you like as long as you can stand over it. The Shankill comment would have opened us up to a libel action

  9. no worries Mackers, it was a naughty jibe. anyhow looks like justice is finally on the EMERDALE..Celtic 3-1 up after 30 calm again.

  10. So heartening to see this sort of thing emerging

  11. Marty, you are just not being helpful to the peace process asking questions like that. Memory over forgetting and all that