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Still under Surveillance

Since his arrival in Germany in 1973, Lawrence Gough had become a well-known and popular fencer, a highly-respected trainer and personality in fencing circles far and wide. Ironically, internationally and nationally in Germany, Lawrence Gough was the face of Irish fencing.

In the following years, Lawrence Gough concentrated on gaining fencing trainer qualifications and on sports management.

Among his achievements were:

  • 1977/1978: Deutscher Fechterbund (German Fencing Federation) "C Trainer Licence" and "B Trainer Licence"
  • 1978-1985: Fencing Coach "Fechterschaft Romerike Berge im Solinger Turnerbund 1880 e.V."
  • 1981-1985: Chairman of the fencing club "Fechterschaft Romerike Berge im Solinger Turnerbund 1880 e.V."
  • 1982/1983: Fencing representative on the Stadt Solingen Sports' Council
  • 1982: Member of the Akademie der Fechtkunst Deutschlands (German Academy of Armes)
  • 1984: Recipient of the "Badge of Honour" of the Rheinish Fencing Association for services to the promotion of fencing
  • 1993-1996: Fencing Coach TuS Erkrath 1930 e.V.
  • 1994: Sportsman of the Year, Stadt Erkrath. The fencing community in Rhineland were particularly impressed by this achievement as fencers are seldom nominated for such honours. Gough was not only nominated but won the award.  Gough's being voted - Sportsman of the Year - by the inhabitants gave the sport of fencing much appreciated publicity in the region.

 

In December 1994, the Honorary Secretary of the IAFF, Nuala McGarrity, (the same person still holds this office in 2016) sent a fax to the General Secretary of the Deutscher Fechterbund (DFB - German Fencing Federation) requesting private and confidential information regarding the person of Lawrence Gough. Klaus Janka, the General Secretary of the DFB, passed this request from the IAFF on to Lawrence Gough.

After 22 years of German residency, the IAFF still had Gough under surveillance. The very same person who sent the "Verdict" to the young Larry Gough in 1967 was secretly attempting to spy on the 45 year old Lawrence Gough. Having forced Gough into exile in 1973 was obviously not enough for the IAFF.

 

This collection of personal data regarding Lawrence Gough was in breach of:

1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 12:
"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

2. The Data Protection Act 1988 of the Government of Ireland, Article 40.3.2:
"The State shall, in particular, by its laws protect as best it may from unjust attack and, in the case of injustice done, vindicate the life, person, good name, and property rights of every citizen."

The sending of this fax to the DFB by the IAFF presupposed evidence of wrongdoing on Gough's part. This was a massive invasion of his privacy, a slur and an attack on his honour and reputation.

Lawrence Gough's human rights were violated.

The obvious questions remain unanswered to this day:

  • Was this the only enquiry that the Honorary Secretary of the IAFF launched regarding the person of Lawrence Gough or did the IAFF or an individual officer of the IAFF solicit further information about him from other sources, e.g. national federations, national academies?
  • Who authorized this action?

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