BRANTRY republican Gerry McGeough’s fight to receive a Royal pardon for the attempted murder of part-time UDR man, Sammy Brush, more than 20 years ago, has been given a boost by Sinn Fein Party President Gerry Adams.
Mr Adams, TD for Louth and East Meath, told a campaign group pushing for McGeough’s early release, that he has been lobbying the British and Irish governments to honour their obligations under the Good Friday Agreement.
“It is Sinn Féin’s belief that Gerry McGeough should be released and allowed to return to this family in County Tyrone and we have made this clear publicly and in our contacts with the British Government”, said Mr Adams in correspondence with the campaign group.
“It is our firm view that this prosecution should not have happened. The offences for which Gerry McGeough was convicted fell under the terms os the Good Friday Agreement.”
Mr Adams said it was clear that an anomaly had arisen around historical cases, a fact acknowledged by the British Government some time ago along with a commitment to rectify the situation.
Mr Adams revealed that a Sinn Fein delegation met with Mr McGeough in Maghaberry on July 5 and reiterated to him directly the party’s continuing support for his campaign to be released.
Speaking from jail, Mr McGeough welcomed Mr Adams’ intervention and revealed that he has had several health scares while in prison.
“Unfortunately, I’m not getting the right diet or exercise for a patient with heart problems”, he claimed.
“However, I am buoyed up by the tremendous support my family and I have received from the people of South Tyrone, and from well-wishers throughout Ireland and around the world.
“What is very heartening is the support we have received from Protestant people.”
He revealed that a date is due to be set next week for a judicial review in an attempt to obtain a Royal Prerogative of Mercy.
McGeough’s lawyers have argued that he should be granted the special mercy warrant to ensure equal treatment with other convicted terrorists who had benefited from it.
It was claimed it would be unlawful to draw a distinction because McGeough was previously jailed in Germany and in the United States.
Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, the former IRA man is expected to be released in two years’ time following his conviction for the attack on Mr Brush.
But his lawyer argued that the time he spent in jail abroad should count towards that period.
He said McGeough was in an indistinguishable position from others who had received the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.