Catholic judges in Northern Ireland ‘traitors’, says republican

Gerry McGeough should be investigated for incitement, says Unionist TUV party leader

Catholics who have served as judges and prosecutors in Northern Ireland’s legal system are “traitors” who will be dealt with as “collaborators” once the English are removed, a high-profile republican has said.

Gerry McGeough served time in custody in Northern Ireland, Germany and the United States for a series of offences, including an attempt to buy Stinger surface-to-air missiles for the Provisional IRA in the UK in 1983.

During a weekend interview with an Irish-American radio station, Mr McGeough said: “There are people from republican families who are sitting as Diplock court judges, and prosecutors, and all the other stuff of the day you can’t possibly imagine, and they are arrogantly passing judgment on patriots.

“I remember when I was on the trial, and the trial was an absolute farce, and no research done whatsoever, but they used to talk about bad character.


“Anyone who had shown any resistance to the British was deemed to have bad character and everything was to be criminalised. So you have Irish Catholics, traitors in effect, administering British rule here in the six counties.”

Mr McGeough, who is now at odds with Sinn Féin, should be investigated for incitement, said the leader of the Unionist TUV party, Jim Allister.

Ann Travers, daughter of a Catholic magistrate, whose sister was murdered during an IRA attack on her family, said Mr McGeough's remarks had made her "beyond angry".

Mr McGeough was arrested in August 1988 when he was caught crossing the Netherlands-German border with two AK47 rifles in the boot of his car. There, he was charged with attacks on British soldiers based in Germany and held for four years.


However, his trial in Germany was interrupted when the American authorities successfully sought his extradition.

There, he was charged with trying to buy surface- to-air-missiles in 1983 which could have transformed the IRA’s ability to down British helicopters.

He was arrested in 2007 in Co Fermanagh and later convicted for the attempted murder of a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment and firearms possession.

He was given a 20-year jail term in April 2011 following a Belfast trial. However, he was released after serving two years, in line with the terms of the Belfast Agreement.

Condemning Mr McGeough, Mr Allister said his attacks on Catholic judges and prosecutors is "not some abstract political attack on Catholic judges, but come in the horrific context of the IRA having carried such invective through to murderous attacks on members of the judiciary from a Roman Catholic background who dared to serve on the bench".

Ms Travers, whose sister Mary was shot dead by the IRA in a 1984 attack that left her father Tom, a judge, seriously wounded called on Catholic Church leaders to "come out behind families like mine".

She said that over the years her family has faced abuse.

“My father’s attempted murder was justified, and Mary’s murder was justified, that they deserved what they got. I find what [Mr McGeough] said to be a bit of a threat to people like me, who are now standing up and speaking out, and who felt that we are safe to speak up and talk about our families when you still have people out there who have those sort of views.”