29/01/2007

Former IRA member to run against Sinn Fein

A former IRA prisoner is to stand against Sinn Fein in the upcoming Northern Ireland Assembly election following the party's decision this weekend to support policing.

Gerry McGeough – a former Sinn Fein national executive member, who was jailed in the USA for gun running, revealed today that he will run for the Fermanagh-South Tyrone seat.

The constituency currently has a Sinn Fein MP and two Sinn Fein Assembly members.

Commenting on his decision, Mr McGeough said that he was now faced with a position where he felt compelled to raise the standard for Irish Republicanism in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency.

He continued: "Yesterday's vote by the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis to support the PSNI was not surprising.

"However, it was a classic textbook case of counter insurgency. The British have succeeded in imposing a policy of divide and rule, with a significant section of the Republican Movement now being recruited into the British Crown system and being used to administer and maintain British rule."

Mr McGeough's decision is expected to prompt a number of similar challenges against Sinn Fein from republican's opposed to their decision.

During yesterday's special conference in Dublin, around 90% of Sinn Fein members backed Gerry Adams` and Martin McGuinness' motion on policing.

Gerry McGeough was a member of the IRA's infamous East Tyrone Brigade, and fled to the United States after the FBI foiled attempts by the IRA to secure missiles in 1982. He was later arrested in Europe and extradited back to America.

In 1993, he was sentenced to three years in prison, and deported back to Ireland in 1996 where he joined the Sinn Fein National Executive.

Mr McGeough will be aiming to secure the votes of republican's opposed to Sinn Fein's decision to change their policy on policing.

His election campaign will be officially launched on Wednesday.

(EF/SP)

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