Adams clashes with McGeough over harassment
Adams clashes with McGeough over harassment

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams clashed with a prominent republican on Sunday as he canvassed in south Tyrone.

Gerry McGeough, who is before the courts in the North on IRA-related charges confronted Mr Adams about ongoing security force harassment of ‘dissident’ republicans. Mr McGeough is a former member of the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle [leadership]. The former comrades clashed as Sinn Fein canvassed after Mass at St Patrick’s Church in the village of Eglish.

“There was a phalanx of them [Sinn Fein] at the chapel gate as I was coming out of Mass with my children,” Mr McGeough said.

“I immediately saw an opportunity to raise a few issues with Gerry Adams.

“I simply asked him why he was not speaking out about nationalists in Diplock courts.

“We were handshaking distance apart with Michelle Gildernew alongside about 10 to 20 others.

“We had our exchange and [Mr Adams] told me to go away.

“I said how dare he tell me to go away as I was coming out of my parish church and suggested that he should go away.”

Mr McGeough said he made points about phone tappings and ongoing harassment of republicans and accused Mr Adams of incorrectly claiming “the nightmare for nationalists was over”.

Sinn Fein played down the verbal spat which was witnessed by parishioners emerging from Mass.

A spokesman for Mr Adams last night confirmed the exchange.

“We were in Eglish meeting people after Mass. Gerry McGeough came out of the Mass when everyone else had left,” he said.

“He made a few comments about his case and withdrew with his children. He said what he had to say and stomped off.”

Mr McGeough is currently facing trial accused of involvement in IRA actions between 1975 and 1981. He stood against Sinn Fein in the 2007 assembly elections, and claims that other former IRA members have secretly been given royal pardons.

The PSNI is said to be trawling cold-case files to establish if charges could be pressed against other republican hardliners for past actions, or for other minor offences that might support a jail sentence.

Lurgan man Martin Corey, who was released on licence in 1992, was controversially returned to prison two weeks ago. He was taken to Maghaberry jail after being informed that his licence had been revoked.

This week the British government was reported to be examining intelligence on other republicans who were released early under the 1998 Good Friday agreement to check if there is evidence to seek their immediate return to prison.


In an unrelated development, one of four Provisional IRA men who kidnapped and beat alleged ‘dissident’ Belfast man Bobby Tohill in February 2004 has been jailed for eight years.

Former on-the-run Volunteer Harry Fitzsimmons is the third man to be jailed for the kidnapping of Tohill, who has since publicly forgiven his captors.

Fitzsimmons, from north Belfast, was secretly extradited from the 26 Counties last week. A fourth man, Thomas Tolan, is still said to be “unlawfully at large”.

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