HomeCommunity News62 Year Old Irish American in Prison on 42 Year Old Charge

62 Year Old Irish American in Prison on 42 Year Old Charge

62 Year Old Irish American in Prison on 42 Year Old Charge

By: Peter Jones

The family of a 64 year old

Irish-American recently im-
prisoned in England on a 42

year old charge has started a
Go Fund Me page to aid his
legal defense. Rory McGrath,

who prior to his arrest and ex-
tradition lived with his wife and

twin boys in Pearl River, NY,
is a dual citizen of Ireland and

the US. He is currently impris-
oned in Leeds, UK, awaiting

trial for allegedly punching a
West Yorkshire police officer in
the nose during a street brawl in
1980. Mr. McGrath maintains
his innocence.

After he and several other
youths involved in the fight were
arrested, McGrath fled to New

York, where he worked for de-
cades as as a union construction

worker and later as an owner of
several commercial properties.
In 2001, in the aftermath of the

9/11 attacks, Mr. McGrath vol-
unteered at Ground Zero for two

years, resulting in serious respi-
ratory and health issues which he

says left him unable to work.
In 2018 officials in the UK

filed a request seeking Mc-
Grath’s extradition and in 2020

that request was approved by
American officials. In May 2021

Mr. McGrath was arrested at his
home and placed under house

arrest. In July 2022 he was ex-
tradited to the UK. He has been

there ever since, confined to a
cell in HMP Leeds prison for
23 hours a day, awaiting a trial
that has been repeatedly delayed,
resulting in huge legal bills the
family are attempting to partially
cover with the Go Fund Me page.
The arrest and extradition

of a 64-year-old man on a rel-
atively minor crime alleged to

have occurred 42 years ago has

raised concerns in many quar-
ters. Heather Cucolo, a promi-
nent law professor at New York

Law School and author of a May
2021 article about the case, says

the arrest and extradition are cer-
tainly “out of the ordinary” and

may have been influenced by the
refusal of many EU countries to
extradite to the UK in the wake

of Brexit, causing UK prosecu-
tors seeking the extradition of

prisoners to look elsewhere.
The case certainly brings to

mind other cases of harsh, dis-
criminatory, or illegal treat-
ment of Irish prisoners in Brit-
ish courts, most notably the

overturned convictions of the
Guildford Four, the Maguire
Seven, and the Birmingham

Six, immortalized in the Daniel
Day-Lewis film In The Name of
the Father and the song “Streets
of Sorrow/Birmingham Six” by
the legendary Irish rock band
The Pogues.

As of this writing Mr. Mc-
Grath is still awaiting trial in

HMP Leeds Prison in the UK.
The GoFundMe page started by
his family can be found here:




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