We call for full implementation of paragraph 20 of the Weston Park Accord (2001) and for the immediate release of Gerry McGeough.
The Good Friday Agreement was signed on 10th April 1998. The associated Weston Park Accord was signed on 1st August 2001. This is an international agreement between the Irish and British governments. Both governments agreed to implement paragraph 20 before the end of 2001. Paragraph 20 states that:
"supporters of organisations now on cease-fire against whom there are outstanding proceedings, and in some cases extradition proceedings, for offences committed before 10th April 1998 would if convicted, stand to benefit from the early release scheme. The Governments accept that it would be a natural development of the scheme for such prosecutions not to be pursued and will as soon as possible, and in any event before the end of the year, take such steps as are necessary in their jurisdictions to resolve this difficulty so that those concerned are no longer pursued".
Unfortunately, the legislation required to implement paragraph 20 was never passed in Westminster. The failure of the British government to act in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement forced the withdrawal of this legislation on 11th January 2006 by then Secretary of State Peter Hain.
Non-implementation of paragraph 20 led directly to the arrest of Gerry McGeough on 8th March 2007. He was subsequently charged and sentenced in a Diplock Court with alleged offences dating back 31 years to June 1981. Gerry has now been incarcerated in Maghaberry prison since 18th February 2011. He is the only Irish Republican to have been charged with alleged offences committed prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.