Former IRA man given 20 years for 1981 murder bid
A convicted IRA would-be assassin who tried to murder a part-time UDR soldier 30 years ago has been jailed for 20 years but is likely to only serve two years in custody under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Leading republican and one-time teacher Terence Gerard ‘Gerry’ McGeough appeared in Belfast Crown Court via video-link from Maghaberry and sat impassively on screen with his arms folded throughout as Mr Justice Stephens delivered his half hour, damning sentencing remarks.
He told McGeough, who has expressed no remorse for shooting part-time UDR soldier Samuel John Brush in June 1981: “You perceive yourself to be a leader though there is an element in that leadership of narcissistic disdain for others, including disdain for your fellow recruits to the IRA.
“You elevated your political opinions and views over democracy, the rule of law, the existence and bodily integrity of Mr Brush,” the judge added.
In imposing the 20-year jail term, the judge told McGeough there must be a clear message “that no matter how long is the time that elapses and no matter what changes occur in a terrorist's way of life that condign punishment will be imposed for committing such offences”.
Speaking outside the court Mr Brush, who is currently a DUP councillor in Ballygawley, echoed the judge's sentiments.
Commenting that his “closure” came on the day that murdered police constable Ronan Kerr's funeral is taking place, Mr Brush said: “I think that the deterrent part of the sentence is very, very necessary to prevent other people from getting involved.
“I think in all honesty you have got to make sure that the message goes out loud and clear to people who would consider getting involved in terrorism that sooner or later they are going to have to pay the price.”
Following a seven-month trial between March and November last year, McGeough, from the Carrycastle Road, Gortmerron, Dungannon was convicted of attempting to murder Mr Brush in June 1981 as he delivered a letter to the farmhouse.
He was also convicted of possessing the two guns used in the attack and on two counts of being a member of the IRA on dates between January 1975 and June 1981.
As well as the 20-year term for the attempted murder, Mr Justice Stephens imposed as 12-year term for the firearms offences and jail terms of four and seven years respectively for the IRA membership offences, with all the sentences to be served concurrently.