Irish Republican News · July 9, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Release refusal tested by European law

Two jailed members of the Provisional IRA are to bring proceedings under the European Convention on Human Rights against the refusal of the 26-County government to release them.

Mr Patrick Gageby SC, for Pearse McAuley and Jeremiah Sheehy, yesterday sought an adjournment of their judicial review proceedings to bring a motion amending their claim so as to include arguments that the failure to release them following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement breaches their rights under the convention.

The men had been unable to advance the convention arguments when they were initially granted leave to take their proceedings because at that stage, January 2002, the Government had failed to incorporate the convention into domestic law. It had been incorporated earlier this year and his side now wished to raise issues under that.

Mr Gageby said the men’s case would now rest almost entirely on arguments under the convention. This was because the Supreme Court, in decisions last April and January, had dismissed applications for the release of two other men under the Good Friday Agreement.

Michael O’Neill and John Quinn were also jailed in connection with the attempted post office robbery at Adare, Co Limerick, in June 1996. The abortive raid led to the death of Garda Jerry McCabe.

In their judicial review proceedings, McAuley and Sheehy are seeking to overturn a Government decision that they are not entitled to be considered as qualifying prisoners under the terms of the Belfast Agreement and the Criminal Justice (Release of Prisoners) Act 1998.

While all other qualifying prisoners in Britain and Ireland have been released under the Agreement, political pressure has ensured that the ‘Castlerea 4’ have remained behind bars.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News