Trial of Vincent McAnespie & Gerry McGeough
Commenting on the trial of Vincent McAnespie and Gerry McGeough which continues in Belfast this week, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:
“It is now over three and a half years since the arrest of Vincent McAnespie and Gerry McGeough and their subsequent charging. As I stated at the time, this caused justifiable outrage among republicans throughout the border counties and beyond. These arrests came on the very day of the count in the Six-County Assembly elections. Both men had lived and travelled openly in the Six Counties for years, yet elements within the PSNI chose to haul them before the courts.
“These arrests and prosecutions should not have taken place. Former prisoners convicted for actions which took place long after those for which these two men have been charged have long since been released under the Good Friday Agreement.
“Vincent McAnespie is a highly respected member of the community in Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone. He is the father of six children and his wife is former Monaghan Sinn Féin County Councillor Brenda McAnespie, a valued colleague of mine. Their home was raided and extensively searched by members of the PSNI on the evening of 8 March 2007 when Vincent was arrested. This brought further distress to a family that suffered the loss of Vincent's brother Aidan McAnespie who was murdered by a British Army sniper at Aughnacloy in 1988.
“The arrest of Gerry McGeough, a candidate in the Assembly elections, at the count centre, was equally outrageous. Like Vincent McAnespie, Gerry McGeough had lived openly in Co. Tyrone for years.
“Whatever the outcome of this case, its prosecution is indicative of a residual securocrat influence which should be ended.” ENDS