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Felon Setting

A reply to the Ulster Herald, "Support for McGeough splits pro-life lobbies"

Martin Galvin • 16 April 2007

The term, felon-setting is deeply rooted in Irish history, first coined to condemn an editor whose story about Fenians marching in Cork set up arrests and jail sentences on treason-felony charges. The legal protection "sub judice" has an even longer history, and is observed by many legal systems to shield any accused from prejudicial pre-trial publicity that may deprive the victim of a fair trial.

It is not surprising, given his pro-British views, unionist allegiances and indeed loyalist past, that the source of your article openly claims that Gerry McGeough, by virtue of being a Republican and Irish patriot has forfeited the customary rights to justice or fairness. It is very surprising and disappointing that the ULSTER HERALD should give credibility to such views and indulge in both felon-setting and unfair pre-trial publicity by reproducing them verbatim without even soliciting a reply from the individuals and organizations targeted.

The article reprints a press release from a London based pro-life advocate who protested the favorable comments which Gerry McGeough, as a deeply religious pro-life activist received from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn [SPUC]. There is no issue taken with Mr. McGeough's pro-life beliefs. Nor does the source argue on principles of non-violence or pacifism. Indeed the London Life League representative pays tribute to the pro-life credentials of the former Ulster Defense Regiment member and DUP Councilor Sammy Brush.

Gerry McGeough is pronounced unfit for favorable mention by SPUC not by any right to life criteria nor by virtue of his involvement in the struggle, but because he volunteered for what the London spokesperson deems the wrong side. He denounces Gerry McGeough for having been a former Irish Republican Army Volunteer and former Sinn Fein official, a current Republican and most of all for being unrepentant. The IRA, the London man says, should be classified as criminals, religious bigots etc. Had McGeough joined the British crown forces, the British Army, RUC or the UDR, or their Loyalist allies he might be applauded for holding pro-life views, it seems, according to the Life League spokesman.

Instead Mr. McGeough spent much of his youth in German and American jails as part of the struggle against British crown forces. The Ulster Herald should be well aware that this is not a unanimous judgment. Many readers such as those who attended the Carrickmore Easter Commemoration or Hunger Strike rallies presumably have a very different view as to who were the real criminals and armed wing of religious bigotry.

Not being very religious I would never tell SPUC or any right-to-life group who should be mentioned favorably. Presumably SPUC determined that Mr. McGeough's strong right-to-life views were the only criteria to be considered.

The London group is entitled to require a litany of additional criteria such as loyalty to British rule and honoring British crown forces including the former UDR. In other circumstances such a debate might be appropriate if one-sided.

However, Gerry McGeough and his co-accused Vincent McAnespie, stand accused on serious quarter century old charges which only merited arrests after Mr. McGeough stood for election urging no backing for the RUC-PSNI.

Your article essentially pronounces Mr. McGeough guilty without benefit of evidence, trial or defense. I do not have any personal knowledge as to whether Gerry McGeough and his co-accused had any involvement in a battle with the UDR member Sammy Brush in 1981.

It remains to be seen whether Gerry McGeough and the co-accused who must stand beside him in the dock can get justice from a British court. Certainly none would be expected from the London spokesmen whose press release you printed as if it were credible.

However, any accused even an independent Republican deserves better than being felon-set and found guilty in your newspaper.


































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Index: Current Articles

24 April 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Tús Nua - Céim chun tosaigh
A new beginning - a step forward

W. Harbinson

Which Way We Are Facing
Mick Hall

Whither Traditional Republicanism?
Michael Gillespie

The Drumcree Conspiracy
John Kennedy

We Must Deal Openly With The Past
David Adams

What Was It All For?
Antaine Uas O'Labhradha

The New Wolfe Tone?
Dr John Coulter

Felon Setting
Martin Galvin

UVF Threats Further Proof of Political Policing
Press Release: 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Widgery II
John Kennedy

Easter Statement
Republican Socialist Youth Movement

Commemoration Report
Cathleen O'Brien

The Road Ahead for the UUP
Dr John Coulter

What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander!
Patrick Hurley

David Ervine
Anthony McIntyre

9 April 2007

Alternative Ulster
Gerard Gallagher

Back to the Old RUC Ways
Martin Galvin

Cross Border Co-Operation
John Kennedy

Statement from the Morley Family
The Morley Family

Time for Truth is Now
Mick Hall

Revising the Uprising?
Paul Maguire

Easter 2007 Oration
Francis Mackey

Stormont an Obstacle to Realising Ideals of 1916
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

Destined for the Dustbin of History
Dr John Coulter

A Beginning Must Be Made
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

Vision for Northern Ireland
Ian Eggleston

House Trained At Last
Brian Mór

Bullies Top the List
Dr John Coulter

Niall Griffiths' antidote to the 'Vomit Novel'
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Two Looks Back in Time
Dr John Coulter

Blame It On The Shinners, Bono & That Freak Sir Bob
Brian Mór

Levi's Law
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Facing Up to Reality of Holocaust
David Adams

The Big Bribe
John Kennedy

Everywhere The Past
Anthony McIntyre



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