Northern Ireland news

Gerry McGeough elected president of Tyrone AOH

Prominent republican Gerry McGeough has been elected president of the AOH in Co Tyrone
Connla Young

Prominent republican Gerry McGeough has been elected to lead the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Co Tyrone.

Mr McGeough, a former IRA prisoner, is also well known for his strong Catholic views.

He was previously elected AOH president in Tyrone in 2011 but was jailed a few weeks later for the attempted murder of former DUP councillor Sammy Brush in 1981.

The Brantry native had been arrested leaving an assembly election count in Omagh in 2007 where he was standing as an independent candidate in protest at Sinn Fein's support for the PSNI.

He was sentenced to 20 years in jail, but was released after two under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

The AOH evolved out of the Defenders and Ribbonmen Catholic defence groups in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Mr McGeough said his election was a “great honour", describing the AOH as a “resilient organisation that has defied all attempts to stamp it out over the centuries”.

He said the Hibernians can trace their roots back to the mid-1500s and identify strongly with Gaelic Catholic Ulster, adding that during this year of centenaries the Tyrone Hibernians will mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Hugh O'Neill.

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