The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
A land fit for heroes or a party suited to Peelers
Tommy McKearney • 27 January 2004

Gerry McGeough makes no secret of the fact that he is an ultra-conservative Catholic. In a recent interview with the Irish Catholic newspaper, he voiced his abhorrence of gay marriages and abortion and some years back dedicated his first novel to “The Blessed Virgin Mary”. His religious convictions are extreme, even for “Catholic Ireland".

Gerry is also a dyed-in-the-wool Irish republican who has endured much hardship and pain as a result of his political beliefs. He has been imprisoned in Germany and the USA and lived for many years in exile from his native County Tyrone. More recently he has suffered once again for his identification with the republican cause. Having gained a third level degree as a mature student, Gerry McGeough found work teaching in a private secondary school in Dublin. With two young children, he badly needed the income. However, after someone complained to his employers about McGeough’s past affiliation with republicanism, he was forced to resign from his position.Five years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, with all it promises of a new beginning and an equality agenda, a former republican activist is forced out of his job because someone did not like his politics.

Nor indeed is Gerry McGeough’s case an isolated one. There is a whole raft of positions North and South, barred to former republican activists. And there is little prospect of this changing for so long as Sinn Fein, the party to which most of these activists once gave their loyalty, refuses to take up their case in any meaningful way. Contrast unionist determination not to engage without arms decommissioning with Sinn Fein’s pusillanimous willingness to have its former stalwarts treated as second-class citizens on both sides of the Border. During the upcoming review of the GFA, will Gerry Adams and his team make restoration of full citizenship to republican veterans a sine qua non for participation in any further arrangement in Stormont. They should but they won’t.

Bizarrely, the McGeough case came to public attention in the same week that a former RUC officer was given membership of Sinn Fein. There is no reason, of course, why a person should not be able to change their views and be accepted thereafter as a sincere republican. It would be reassuring, nevertheless, if Sinn Fein was as determined to help its old comrades as facilitate the new.

This article also appears in Fourthwrite and is carried here with permission from the author.

















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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

27 January 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


A Land Fit for Heroes or a Party Suited to Peelers?
Tommy McKearney


Rest in Peace
Brendan Shannon


Shooting the Fenians

Anthony McIntyre


On the Theme of Forgiveness: An Open Letter to Victor Barker
Karen Elliott


A Response to Victor Barker

Liam O Ruairc


TV Times
Eamon Sweeney


Eamonn McCann and Marion Baur


“All bureaucrats are equal but some are more equal than others”
Peter Hadden


Airport Workers Reply
Gordon McNeill, Madan Gupta, and Chris Boyer


20 January 2004


Demise of the Dinosaur?
Eamon Sweeney


The Price the Working Classes Pay for a Pedestal These Days
Mick Hall


The One Eyed Observer

Anthony McIntyre


The Spark in Jeffery
John Fitzharris


Anti-Racism Rally

Davy Carlin


32CSM Condemns PIRA Shooting of Republican Activist
Andy Martin


Semantics of Empire
M. Shahid Alam




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