UUP calls on PSNI to investigate Gerry McGeough comments on judiciary

Gerry McGeough was elected president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Co Tyrone earlier this year.
Gerry McGeough was elected president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Co Tyrone earlier this year.

THERE have been calls for a police investigation after a prominent republican described Catholic judges and prosecutors as "traitors".

Ulster Unionist justice spokesman Doug Beattie said police should probe the remarks made by the former IRA prisoner Gerry McGeough as they "border on incitement to commit an unlawful act against members of the judiciary in Northern Ireland".

McGeough was jailed for 20 years in 2011 for the attempted murder of former DUP councillor Sammy Brush in 1981.

He was released after two years under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

At the weekend, McGeough told US radio station WBAI people from republican families who sit as Diplock court judges and prosecutors in the north "are arrogantly passing judgment on patriots".

He described Catholics in these roles as, "traitors in effect, administering British rule here in the six counties" and later appeared to refer to them as "collaborators".

Mr Beattie said the "use of the terms traitors and collaborators is both emotive and provocative."

"They conjure up images from the past that we thought we had left behind when people were tarred and feathered for engaging with the security forces, while others were shot or blown up purely because they worked with or for the forces of law and order in this country."

McGeough, the president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Tyrone, also said "English" people "need to get the hell out of the country."

"They don't belong here. They have no right to be here. Their presence here has been at the cost of the blood of the Irish so it is time for them now to get out.

"I am quite hopeful that this will come about but we have to see to it that mass movements get up and running here over the next say few years so that by I would like to see by January 2019 the English will be out of our country," McGeough said.

Another Ulster Unionist MLA, Steve Aiken, described the comments as "completely perplexing".

Mr Aiken says if Mr McGeough is "referring to the British population of this island, of which I am a proud member, and he wishes to expel me, my family, and the other one million odd people who live here and can claim centuries or even longer of association with our island, I would be very concerned".