Irish Republican News · March 18, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Castlerea men press case for release

Legal proceedings aimed at securing the release under the Good Friday Agreement of the Castlerea 4 were adjourned in the High Court yesterday.

In their judicial review proceedings, two of the men, Pearse McAuley and Jeremiah Sheehy, argued that their continuing detention breaches the 1998 accord and Irish and European law.

However, the judge adjourned the case to “the back” of the court list, meaning it is likely to be some time before it comes to hearing.

In a statement last Sunday, the four men said they no longer wanted their release to be part of negotiations on the peace process, They criticised refusal of the Dublin government to allow their release as an attempt to use the men as bargaining chips in the talks.

In a statement, the IRA men also expressed regret at the death of Garda Jerry McCabe and the injury caused to a colleague in an abortive operation in 1996.

The 26-County Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, described the statement as “helpful”. But he denied his government was under an obligation to release the men, insisting that his government had discretion on the matter, regardless of the actual content of the Agreement.

“Lest anyone forget, we went all the way to the Supreme Court to vindicate the right of the Minister for Justice to make a determination as to who we believed were eligible prisoners. And we have from day one said that they were not eligible under the Good Friday agreement. So that matter is closed.”

On Irish radio this week, Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris said that in 2003 the killers were within an hour of being released as part of a deal which collapsed at the last moment over the process of IRA disarmament

“If [Ulster Unionist leader] David Trimble had accepted Gen John De Chastelain’s report [on weapons decommissioning] the comprehensive agreement was signed, sealed and delivered, and they would have been released.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News