Letters to the Editor, ‘Hypocritical outrage from the DUP over council motion’

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Friday, October 26th, 2012
Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor, The DUP are outraged over the recent council motion passed calling for the immediate release of Gerry McGeough, Marian Price and Martin Corey. Referring to the imprisonment of Gerry McGeough, Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuiv stated,“This is a lot bigger than Gerry because this in my view is a major step back for a peace process that Gerry bought into and that we all bought into and where we were putting the past behind us and building a better future for the young children.” For many, the release of prisoners under the early release scheme was a hard pill to swallow, but it was also a major factor in allowing the peace process to move forward. Paragraph 20 of the Weston Park Accord dealt with a relatively small number of OTR’s. Gerry McGeough’s arrest and incarceration are a direct result of paragraph 20 not being legislated and implemented by the British Government under the terms agreed in 2001. The decision by the British Government not to apply the wording of Strand 3, Prisoners, paragraph 1 of the Belfast Agreement (1998) to the case of Gerry McGeough and credit Gerry with time served in Germany and the USA prior to 1998 is a direct violation of an international agreement. The fact that the British Government can so easily and so willingly violate an international agreement is a very serious matter and one which the DUP have ignored completely. The DUP is entitled to an opinion on the imprisonment of Gerry McGeough. If they are genuine about justice and equality, the DUP should forward a motion calling for everyone, including members of the British Army, RUC and UDR to be prosecuted and imprisoned for offences they committed prior to 1998. Gerry McGeough is expected to be released after serving two years under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. When the British Government can violate international agreements with impunity, can we really be sure that they will adhere to the terms agreed at the signing of the Good Friday Agreement? If Gerry is not released after serving two years, will this further violation of an international agreement be raised by the DUP? When politicians and public representatives throughout Ireland, America and Spain who would not normally be associated with Irish Republicanism begin to question and raise concerns about what is happening within the peace process or question the motives surrounding the imprisonment of Gerry McGeough and the abuse of human rights against many others, surely there must be something seriously wrong with the situation we find ourselves in. We should not forget those who died or were injured during the conflict but we cannot allow individuals to be singled out and imprisoned on alleged ‘historic’ offences. These issues need to be resolved and the DUP should be constantly challenged about their commitment towards peace, reconciliation, the protection of human rights for all and their resolve to honour those who suffered by dedicating themselves to a fresh start. Damian Herron
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