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Amnesty details 'made public' during trial

Connla young

PROMINENT Co Tyrone republican Gerry McGeough has claimed the DUP knew about the amnesty to republicans after details emerged during his trial in 2010 for attempting to kill a UDR man.

Speaking to The Irish News last night the former senior Sinn Fein member said details of the amnesty were made public during his trial for the attempted murder of Samuel Brush, who now sits as a DUP councillor in Dungannon.

McGeough left Sinn Fein in 2001 because he was opposed to the party's position on abortion.

During the 2007 assembly elections he stood against Sinn Fein as an independent candidate in Fermanagh South Tyrone.

He was arrested as he left the election count centre in Omagh, Co Tyrone, and was subsequently charged with attempting to kill the former UDR man in 1981.

In 2011 he was convicted of attempted murder possession of firearms with intent to commit an indictable offence and IRA membership.

Although sentenced to 20 years he was released after

two years in January 2013 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

He has previously claimed that he was given assurances by Sinn Fein Policing Board member Gerry Kelly in 2000 that he would not be charged with any offence if he returned to the north.

"This vindicates our position," he said.

"We have been saying all along that these amnesties existed and I was being singled out for persecution because of my views."

The former republican prisoner says that during his trial his legal team revealed that 216 "pardons" had been issued to republicans.

"For the DUP to say they were not aware is nonsense," he said.

"Elected DUP members were in court during the trial and they were aware of this. They were up to speed."

McGeough said that during his trial the Northern Ireland Office was asked for "disclosure" on the amnesty issue but "denied" they existed.

He believes those who knew about the existence of the amnesties are involved in a "cover up".

"There's a DUP, Sinn Fein and MI5 axis running this whole thing," he said.

"For the DUP to say they are surprised is play acting ahead of elections."

The former Sinn Fein ard comhairle member believes he was singled out for arrest in 2007 because of his opposition to Sinn Fein in Tyrone.

"This was a means of blocking me because I was a political threat," he said.

"It was a huge injustice done to me and my family."

Last night McGeough's solicitor Aiden Carlin said the case would now be referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

"The disclosures made in John Downey's case should have been previously made at Gerry McGeough's trial, appeal or in other related proceedings," he said.

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