Irish Republican News · December 7, 2012
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Emergency heart procedure for Gerry McGeough


Fears over the health of jailed former Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle member Gerry McGeough have grown after he was removed for emergency heart treatment last week.

Mr McGeough, now an independent republican, was suddenly arrested and then jailed in 2010 for an IRA attack 31 years ago.

The Tyrone veteran was rushed from Maghaberry jail to hospital to have a 7th cardiac stent inserted.

“He was back in prison the same day and is now feeling very sick indeed”, his supporters said.

“There is a legal provision in Northern Ireland which empowers a Secretary of State to ‘release a life prisoner on licence if he is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which justify the prisoner’s release on compassionate grounds.’

“If this category of release is possible for a life prisoner, which ‘exceptional circumstances’ may I ask can be taken into consideration for the release to a prisoner, who has been told by PMOs and outside doctors that he should not be in prison and who is now in a critical condition?”

An independent medical expert has warned that Mr McGeough is potentially suffering from a ‘dangerous and life-threatening condition’.

In the run-up to the 2010 trial McGeough had a heart attack and a second one during the trial. He now has seven stents in his heart.

In November 2011 he had a further heart attack in prison and had to be rushed to hospital where he had a further stent inserted.

Mr McGeough has had a stream of high-level visitors, including the Primate of all Ireland Cardinal Brady and former Irish cabinet minister, Eamon O Cuiv, who has been campaigning for his release.

Under the Good Friday Agreement McGeough should serve no more than two years in jail, which means he should be released by next April. However, there are fears that an attempt will be made by the British government to keep him in jail longer.

Former political prisoner Raymond McCartney has called for a Christmas release of the veteran republican.

The Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson said: “Sinn Féin supports the call by the family of Gerry McGeough’s for him to be released for Christmas.

“Considering that he just recently had a seventh stent inserted because of a heart condition, his release makes even more sense.

“As we have stated publicly on many occasions and to both the British and Irish governments, Gerry McGeough should never have been in prison in the first place. He should be allowed to rejoin his family for Christmas.”

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© 2012 Irish Republican News