Ulster Unionist Justice Spokesperson Tom Elliott has hit out at the actions of SDLP councillors in Dungannon & South Tyrone Council for supporting a Sinn Fein motion calling for the release of three dissident republicans - Gerry McGeough, Martin Corey and Marian Price.
The case of Mr McGeough – who attempted to murder Sammy Brush in 1981 - will be highlighted in an Assembly debate tomorrow (Monday)
Mr Elliott said:
“When Sammy Brush was the victim of a murder bid by republican terrorists - including Gerry McGeough - he was a postman who was also a part-time UDR soldier. In both roles he served the entire community. Today Mr Brush still serves the community as a local councillor in Dungannon.
At the October meeting of Dungannon & South Tyrone Council, SDLP councillors voted in support of a Sinn Fein motion calling for the release of McGeough, along with Martin Corey and Marian Price.
The action of the Sinn Fein councillors is hardly a surprise given that Party’s history of support for violence, but the actions of the SDLP members has been the cause of a great deal of hurt and distress both locally and farther afield and particularly, I am sure, to Mr Brush who sits in the same Council Chamber.
The three named individuals are dissidents with previous terrorist convictions and have publicly rejected the peace process. Dissident republican groups are responsible for a long list of atrocities including the Omagh massacre, the murders of Constables Stephen Carroll and Ronan Kerr, Sappers Quinsey and Azimkhar and last week’s brutal murder of Prison Officer David Black.
There is little point in politicians condemning the actions of so-called dissident republicans one week and then campaigning for the release of their associates in prison the next. This is very straightforward. Terror is wrong. Murder is wrong. Punishments must fit the crime.
Gerry McGeough sought to murder Sammy Brush. Had he succeeded there would be no campaign to release Mr Brush from a graveyard, so why should the SDLP support a campaign to release Gerry McGeough from the prison sentence he is due?”