Irish echo logo 750x550

Better use


In April 2012 the DUP expressed anger at the prosecution of Gerry McGeough on alleged "historic" offenses dating back to 1975 and 1981 and costing the taxpayer £226,418 in legal aid which was applied for and granted.

In addition, Gerry's imprisonment over the past twenty one months will have cost the taxpayer in the region of £175,000.

Yet the DUP would be quite happy if Gerry McGeough was to be denied the two year early release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and have publicly stated that he should remain in prison until his actual release date in 2031.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

Although an agreement was reached in 2010, the Dirty Protest in Maghaberry Prison continues. From June 2011 until 30th September 2012 it has cost the taxpayer £446,913, this paid out by the Prison Service to external companies for the cleaning of cells in Roe House.

The cost of supplies such as Acro Absorbent Compound used in the clean-up operation has reached £55,738. These costs will continue to rise daily. Add to this the £7.4 million spent this year to police controversial Loyal Order parades and we have a total well in excess of £8 million.

Fourteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, in the middle of a peace process, and at a time when we are continually being told to move on, could this money not be put to better use instead of being wasted simply to satisfy the DUP-inspired drive towards a return to one party unionist rule at Stormont.

Damian Herron

Dungannon, County Tyrone

The writer is northern chair for the Free Gerry McGeough Campaign.