As a frequent visitor to your website I was delighted to read the news that The Mayor of Sant Feliu de Llobregat has asked for the immediate release of Gerry McGeough and has the backing of his town council.
On Tuesday 27 November I was present at a meeting in Westminster addressed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers. She spoke very well and presented a positive picture of the good relations between Britain and Ireland which do exist.
However, she was unable to answer many questions because of other pressing engagements. I and others had questions for her which we had to put to other speakers after she left. However I would like to put one to her if I may.
A few days ago Gerry McGeough, presently detained in HMP Maghaberry, was rushed to hospital to have a 7th cardiac stent inserted. He was back in prison the same day and is now feeling very sick indeed.
There is a legal provision in Northern Ireland which empowers a Secretary of State to “release a life prisoner on licence if he is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which justify the prisoner’s release on compassionate grounds”
If this category of release is possible for a life prisoner, which’ exceptional circumstances’ may I ask can be taken into consideration for the release to a prisoner who has been told by PMOs and outside doctors that he should not be in prison and who is now in a critical condition?
Two months ago, at my request a London cardiologist friend drew up a medical report on McGeough’s condition on the basis of his responses to very specific questions about his condition, his medication and his family’s medical history. McGeough himself was stunned by the report’s accuracy. On hearing about McGeough’s 7th stent my cardiologist friend emailed me to say:
I keep labouring the point Moya - but I do think Gerry is suffering stable angina which then becomes unstable = very, very dangerous and potentially life threatening.
My friend’s judgement in this case could provide the legal grounds the Secretary of State needs to release McGeough very soon so that he can be immediately assessed as to whether he is a suitable patient for a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG), which my friend tells me McGeough needs right now.
Moya St Leger
London Borough of RICHMOND