Last week Gerry McGeough was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the attempted murder of a part-time UDR soldier in June 1981. The part-time soldier, Sammy Brush, who is now a DUP councillor in Ballygawley was working as a postman when McGeough shot him.
The Belfast Telegraph reported that McGeough, who was also convicted of possessing two guns and membership of the IRA, 'has expressed no remorse for shooting' Sammy Brush.
The sentencing of McGeough has been overshadowed in the news by the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr but it is disappointing that the media have largley ignored a significant aspect of the case. Last year McGeough. who was then in prison awaiting trial, was elected president of the Tyrone Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. This is a very senior posiiton in the AOH and equivalent to a County Grand Master in the Orange Order.
The fact that the AOH members in Tyrone elected him to that office, while he was awaiting trial, raises serious questions about the AOH. But they are questions the media seem reluctant to ask.
The AOH have responded to the situation with a stony silence but that is simply not good enough. They have questions to answer but they will only answer them if they are asked. A number of DUP members, including Sammy Brush and Lord Morrow have asked them, but the media should now pursue them until they get an answer.
If this had been the Orange Order, I have no doubt that the media would have been camped outside Schomberg House until they got a live interview with a spokesman. It would have been in the newspapers and on the radio and television day after day and reporters would have interrogated the Grand Master and other leading brethren.
Why then is there such a reticience about putting straight questions directly to the AOH and demanding straight answers to those questions?