Thursday 15 February 2007

Gerry McGeough - Biography

Gearóid Mag EochadhaBorn in 1958, Gerry McGeough is a native of the Brantry area of South Tyrone where his family have lived for centuries. As a boy he attended the local Derrylatinee PS and later St. Patrick's Academy in Dungannon, where the late Msgr. Denis Faul taught him Latin and Religion.

His involvement with the Republican Movement is well documented. Deported from Britain in 1978, he was active in the 1981 Bobby Sands election campaign in Fermanagh/South Tyrone. In 1982, he found himself on the run in the United States when an FBI warrant was issued for his arrest in relation to IRA arms charges.

In 1988, McGeough was arrested on the Dutch/German border and charged with a series of attacks against the British military on the Continent. At the time, he was wanted in five countries. He spent the next four years in German prisons. Despite a two-year trial conducted in a specially-constructed underground bunker courtroom before a panel of five judges, McGeough was never convicted and, in 1992, he became the first Irish Republican prisoner to be extradited from Germany to the United States.

In America, he was eventually given three years imprisonment on foot of the 1982 arrest warrant. He wrote his first book of short stories - entitled The Ambush and Other Stories - while in jail there. In 1996, he was deported back to Ireland. His second book, a novel entitled Defenders, was published in 1998.

In 1999, McGeough visited his parents' graves for the first time. They had died just three weeks apart in the winter of 1993/4.

Spending several months of the year working on building sites, McGeough - an accomplished Irish speaker and a promoter of Ireland's unique culture and heritage - put himself through university, graduating from Trinity College, Dublin with an Honours Degree in History in 2003. The following year, he attained a Higher Diploma in Education from University College, Dublin and went on to teach history.

During this time, he had been elected to the Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle and was the party's National Director during the successful No to Nice I campaign in 2001. He left Sinn Féin later that year over concerns about the leadership's weakening of Republican principles, and the party's increasingly pro-abortion stance.

McGeough ran for election in Fermanagh/South Tyrone on March 7, 2007, and while he appeared to have not succeeded in winning a seat, he was arrested and interned by Crown forces while leaving the count centre at Omagh on March 8. While an alleged incident in 1981 was cited as the reason for the arrest, it came at a time when McGeough's tireless campaigning posed a serious threat to the ambitions of the political "establishment" in the Six Counties - including the leadership of Provisional Sinn Féin, which has now absorbed itself into the administration of British rule in Ireland.

Editor of the robustly Catholic and Nationalist monthly magazine, The Hibernian, McGeough and his Spanish wife have three children.


The Youngfella said...

What pro-abortion stance? I was a SF member up until 3 weeks ago and there is certainly not a pro-abortion stance. That is factually incorrect.

Brian O'Higgins said...

Really "youngfella", are you too young to remember how the Sinn Féin leadership asked its supporters to vote in the last abortion referendum? Or the pro-abortion line it took in March of last year?

corkman in paris said...

Brian is correct, Sinn Fein supported more liberalisation of abortion at the last referendum on the subject.