Whatever happened to Gerry McGeough?

The arrest of Gerry McGeough leaving a count centre during the 2007 Assembly election was certainly one of the stranger moments Slugger covered during that campaign.

Slugger regular Ulick follows up on the story below the fold:

As I’m sure you know Gerry has been there, done that. Former Óglach, ex-political prisoner, former SF Ard Chomhairle member etc… He was arrested as left the election count in Omagh after the March 2007 Assembly election in which he had stood as an Independent Republican and was very vocal in his opposition to the RUC/PSNI. He was later charged with the attempted murder of former UDR member and current Dungannon DUP councillor Sammy Brush, during the 1981 Hunger Strikes. At the time a solicitor of Gerry’s co-accused Vincent McAnespie said the prosecution relied on two recently compiled witness statements.

Gerry eventually got a bail surety set after some stalling when the PSNI and Crown Prosecution falsely alleged that he had jumped bail in the US and Germany. The PSNI objected to the first two people to post bail on the grounds that they were ex-political prisoners and substitutes had to be found. In applying for bail, Gerry’s solicitor had informed the court that he had been living in Tyrone for some time and that his children attended a local school. The PSNI wanted to visit the children at school presumably because they didn’t believe the documentation submitted by the head-master that they were enrolled there. McAnespie’s bail was granted unconditionally but Gerry’s was vigorously opposed on the grounds that he was a member of the CIRA this despite the fact that RSF had run a candidate against him. He eventually got bail in April 2007 after a number of PSNI attempts to mislead the court were disproved but under strict conditions. He had to surrender his passport, is not allowed to leave the six counties and has to sign-on with the PSNI three times a week. This meant that he could not travel to work at his magazine which was based in Drogheda – he managed to keep it going for a year but it eventually folded in September 2008.

The timeline below has been compiled mainly from the website of his support campaign

• His first hearing due on May 2007 was postponed until June 13th and then postponed again as the PSNI said they were waiting on evidence from the Gardaí.
• In July 2007 the PSNI did not turn up in court so the hearing was postponed to August 2007.
• In court on 15th of August 2007, it turned out the PSNI had not forwarded a required file to the Prosecution Service and so the hearing was put back until September.
• In September his case was postponed until October 2007.
• In October the prosecution said they needed more time to prepare their case and were granted another two week postponement.
• After a number of postponements, Gerry didn’t get to court again until the end of February 2008 when the case was put back for another three months.
• A date for the preliminary enquiry was eventually fixed for the 16th of May 2008. The PSNI did not show up and so was the case was postponed again until the 28th of May 2008.
• On the 28th of May his case was postponed until the 27th of June 2008 when the Crown said they would fix a trial date.
• In June 2008 the prosecution was granted a postponement until July when they were granted another three week postponement in order to prepare their case.
• On the 31st of July the date for the Preliminary Enquiry was set for the 1st of September.
• The Preliminary Enquiry began in September 2008 but was again riddled by setbacks and postponements as the Crown sought further delays to prepare their case.
• In September 2008 Gerry’s magazine folded due to the restrictions of his bail conditions and ongoing PSNI harassment and surveillance. This had very detrimental financial ramifications for Gerry and his young family.
• In November 2008 the main charges against Vincent McAnespie were dropped.
• Gerry was giving a date of February 2nd for the start of his (Diplock) trial.
• In February 2009, the trial was postponed indefinitely.
• In March 2009 a trail was set for 7th of June 2009.
• In May the Crown sought and was granted a further postponement.
• At the end of July 2009 Gerry suffered a massive heart attack.
• In October 2009 a new trail date was set for March 2010.
• In January 2010, Gerry received a trial date for the 10th of March. The Crown also informed Gerry’s solicitors that the prosecution will focus on Peter Taylor’s 1997 documentary series ‘Provos’.

I think it’s quite obvious from this timeline that the PSNI don’t and never had a case against Gerry McGeough and this is a vindictive prosecution taken because of his outspoken criticism of the RUC and PSNI. The process has taken its toll on him both physically and financially and he’s received little support from the media or former comrades. Many of whom it must be said are unaware of what he’s been going through.

  • Drumlins Rock

    sorta miss his magazine, it was hilarious, im pretty sure it featured the Virgin Mary with an AK47 on the cover once, well maybe it didnt but that was the mental image it painted.
    Mark would you also like to do a posting on the continuous harrasment Cllr Brush faces from republicans?

  • John O’Connell

    Sorry to hear that Gerry Geough isn’t well. I enjoyed his mag if only to disagree with its fundamental premise that Christianity allows violence.

  • joeCanuck

    John,

    If Christianity does not permit violence the christians have had a strange way of demonstrating it over the centuries .

  • Reader

    Ulick(?) : The PSNI objected to the first two people to post bail on the grounds that they were ex-political prisoners and substitutes had to be found.
    Slack work from McGeough’s lawyers there. Having been a political prisoner somewhere shouldn’t prevent someone from putting up bail. What did the PSNI lawyers actually say?

  • IRIA

    What a disgrace!

  • Can’t say I’ll shed any tears when he goes to hell, McGeough is nothing but a murderer who believes that another man can forgive his sins. The sooner he dies the better IMHO.

  • Scaramoosh

    What next – Michael McKevitt is a political hostage framed by MI5 with the assistance of the FBI and senior members of the Irish Gardai.

  • Cynic2

    Isnt it terrible that his lawyer didnt make application to have the charges struck out for want of prosecution ….or is it perhaps not all as described here

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Thats the problem really in small towns and villages in Tyrone, Fermanagh etc.
    Saw McGeough on TV at the count for I think an Assembly election and he struck me as being a bit…odd.
    An unfit to plea because of insanity in waiting…but strangely endearing in an “avoid eye contact” kinda way.

    For people who are on the “outside” of the Troubles, it must be strange to come up against the “insider” culture west of the Bann…the world of paramilitary republicanism and part time paramilitary UDRism.
    They know each other much better than they know themselves.

  • socaire

    ‘Intelligence’ Insider. It’s no worse than believing that an old beardy man in the sky forgives sins and that all catholics will go to Hell. And your humble opinion is just that.

  • John O’Connell

    Joe

    Ignorance of God’s law can never be an excuse. Christianity can never justify violence. Only mistaken interpretations of Christianity allow violence.

  • Mark, you might not be aware but Gerry McGeough’s case is the subject of a media ban.
    A Crown Court judge placed reporting restrictions on the proceedings some time ago – hence the lack of newspaper coverage.
    Hope this clears things up.

  • Mr Crowley

    Can’t say I’ll shed any tears when he goes to hell, McGeough is nothing but a murderer who believes that another man can forgive his sins. The sooner he dies the better IMHO.
    Posted by Intelligence Insider on Feb 09, 2010 @ 09:13 PM

    Gerry has never been convicted of murder thus your bitter rant is libellous. I know Gerry well and although I don’t agree with his religious opinions I consider him to be a good friend and a decent man. I would imagine that were your bitter tirade directed at any other public figure there would be more moderation involved. Gerry’s religious beliefs are often used as an excuse to revile him.

    Mark, you might not be aware but Gerry McGeough’s case is the subject of a media ban.
    A Crown Court judge placed reporting restrictions on the proceedings some time ago – hence the lack of newspaper coverage.
    Hope this clears things up.
    Posted by Double Standards on Feb 09, 2010 @ 09:55 PM

    I have just spoken to Gerry and he tells me that this is completely untrue; there has never been a media ban. Can you provide information regarding any court statements or judgements to suggest otherwise?

  • Marcionite

    For those on a Gerry nostaligia trip, here’s an old but still extant website

    http://gerrymcgeough.blogspot.com

    I wonder what it was in his upbringing to make him so fundamentalist religiously? He seems like a God fearing holy kind of man who just wants people’s souls to be saved. I’m not religious at all but I feel his actions have all had the motivation of love and well meaning behind them.

    Tyrone is the nearest Ireland has to some kind of American Gothic territory. People in Tyrone have a clarity of thought, largely unsullied by the cosmopolitan ways of Belfast and London and Dublin. Tyrone people call a spade a spade and a whole pile of hassle a wile handlin’ boys a boys.

    His pontifications are rather refreshing.

  • Ulick

    Double Standards
    A media ban? Surely the point is there is nothing to report and if a ban is in place (I’ll take your word on it) it’s being used to mask the fact that there is no case. The PSNI have had almost three years to assemble a case, so far they have produced nothing and have now resorted to trawling through old tv footage in order to build a case.

    The question needs to be asked, who decided to bring this case and for what reason? A man’s life and livelihood has been ruined for reasons neither he nor we are allowed to know – a Kafkaesque scenario if there ever was one.

    The suspicion is that Special Branch still exist in some form and are being permitted to continue their campaign against old enemies. Are there any checks on these people – maybe the new Justice Minister will be able to tell us.

    Apologies for any typo – connected with mobile device.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “He seems like a God fearing holy kind of man who just wants people’s souls to be saved. I’m not religious at all but I feel his actions have all had the motivation of love and well meaning behind them.”
    Funny you mention that Sammy Brush was just saying the same thing to me the other day…
    The guy is so far in the past he was probably doing an interview with Adam (not Adams, Adam)

  • slappymcgroundout

    So much for having a right to a speedy trial.

    Lastly, re mistaken interpretations, don’t suppose that we might consider:

    He said to them, But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.

  • Halfer

    I dont like McGeoughs opinions…in fact I find them a bit biccies.

    This, however, is not about flaws in Gerrys opinion. It is about flaws in a justice system that allows malignant oppression of an individual because of his political views.

    Symptom of a sick society.

  • jtwo

    For anyone who misses Gerry’s mag plenty of Falangist fun can be found between the covers of Alive! a free monthly paper available from the porch of a Catholic church near you.

    As far as a ‘media ban’ goes the last reporting of these matters was in July last year when the Irish News reported on an unfit to plead app from McGeough.

  • Mr Crowley

    For anyone who misses Gerry’s mag plenty of Falangist fun can be found between the covers of Alive! a free monthly paper available from the porch of a Catholic church near you.
    Posted by jtwo on Feb 10, 2010 @ 02:47 PM

    Care to explain how that’s relevant to the vindictive and politically-motivated state campaign against Gerry McGeough?
    As a secular socialist there is much upon which Gerry and I disagree but nothing which makes him fair game for injustice.

  • mcclafferty

    Thanks Slugger for the update on Gerry McGeough. Regardless of some of the negative remarks about Gerry, the fact of the matter is that a man and his family are being selectively and politically persecuted and is being denied his right to a speedy trial due to his political opinions NOT his religious beliefs. In these past three years the Crown and RUC have not been able to produce any “smoking gun” with regard to the charges they have brought against Gerry. In the interim, while Gerry and his family are held prisoners in a legal limbo, for charges no one has been able to prove in 27 years, those who gave Gerry his “marching orders” (when once a member of the IRA) – enjoy their freedom and are now part of the same corrupt political institutions that are persecuting him today.

    Due the fact that Gerry’s “superiors” have joined the political status-quo and are now “yes-men” to Stormont, they shut their eyes to the judicial injustice being metered out to Gerry McGeough by the Crown and RUC. Gerry stood on integrity and honesty when he campaigned for elections 3 years ago on “an anti-PSNI” platform and that IS what got him arrested.

    You don’t have to like Gerry McGeough but you can’t allow the British legal system to continue to maliciously deny him the right to a speedy trial. Gerry’s case, if nothing else, goes to prove how the RUC continues to live up to its life long reputation of being corrupt and selectively and politically vindictive to Irish republicans/nationalists who don’t dance to their tune. Don’t forget, the RUC was known and eventually exposed for their anti-catholic bigotry not to mention it’s collusion with various Protestant paramilitary organizations throughout its existence. You would think Sinn Fein, and especially the media would be outraged at this by now, but one can see from their obvious silence on the issue that the “status-quo” still remains in the north of Ireland for those Irish republicans with different political views then the current leadership. Shame on the British legal system in the north of Ireland, shame on the PSNI and even more shame on Sinn Fein and their minion media outlets who don’t have the courage to do the right thing in covering Gerry McGeough’s case.

    Helen McClafferty

  • socaire

    Hit, nail and head, Ms McLafferty. The moral high grounders are rather quiet now. Maybe because there are no sexual/pervert nuances?

  • mcclafferty

    Yes Socaire!

    There is ABSOLUTELY no reason for ANY Sinn Fein representative not to come out on Gerry’s behalf?

    Why do you think there is SO MUCH SILENCE around Gerry’s case? Gerry only stood for what Sinn Fein once stood for. What is more puzzling to me is the fact that main-stream media is not covering this case in the way it should be covered. Britain’s judicial system in the north of Ireland is still highly in question, especially given the way Gerry’s case is being handled. I find it suspicious that Gerry Adams, and even Gerry McGeough’s own Sinn Fein representative in the south Tyrone area, has not come out openly to bring Gerry’s plight into the public arena and to demand that he either be given a speedy trial or the case be thrown out!

  • Ulick

    Helen, let’s have a bit of perspective here. Sinn Féin didn’t arrest Gerry and it’s not Sinn Féin who have been putting him through this. In fact I believe that an elected SF representative provided him with a character reference. Maybe they should be doing more for him, but they are not the culprits here and you’re not doing his cause any favours by venting off in that direction.

  • mcclafferty

    Ulick,

    First, thank you for your polite reply.

    I agree that Sinn Fein did not arrest Gerry but I do believe they are partially responsible for allowing his case to drag on the way it has for these past 3 years. I agree with you when you say, “maybe they should be doing more to help him” That’s an understatement. The last statement coming from Mr. Adams, and I believe Ms. Gildenew, on Gerry’s issue was either the day of or day after he was arrested. That was 3 years ago. Not another word since then? If my outspokenness “is not doing Gerry’s cause any favors”, can you suggest a way that will bring both media attention and the “powers that be” to help him? I haven’t seen help from any of those quarters yet? I supported Sinn Fein for 30 years Ulick, when it wasn’t popular to do so – so I know their drill on what they can and will not do.

    Respectfully,

  • Connie Marks

    Helen,

    Please bear in mind that the media silence on Gerry’s case will be because it falls under provisions for a media ban for certain cases involving the security of the state.

  • Connie Marks

    A note for Helen. Helen, pleaase bear in mind that the media silence on Gerry’s case will be to do with the legal provisions which rprevent the reporting of cases which are considered either to endanger the security of the state, or whose details cannot be published..