251355_115533635201793_100002354707362_147602_4340355_a Continue reading “JUST 16% OF NEW PRISON OFFICERS ARE CATHOLIC”



Stiofán Mac Óda


Siobhan Monaghan

“one grabbed my hair, pulled my head down and repeatedly banged it off the table surface. the rest of my body was raised into the air until i was upside down. One screw spread my legs and pulled my buttocks apart. The pain was bad but nothing to the humiliation i felt at that moment. This couldn’t be happening; it was nothing less than sexual assult”

Joe McQuillan

H blocks

Maghaberry still do this now!!! End forced strip searches. scanners can be used as in airports xx



Angela Nelson



On Monday I and three other Independent Republican Councillors visited Republican prisoners in Maghaberry Prison. The delegation consisted of Cllrs Angela Nelson, (Lisburn City Council), Bernice Swift, (Fermanagh Council), Anita Cavlan, (Ballymoney Council), Padraig Mc Shane, (Moyle Council).

Two other Independent Cllrs, Barry Monteith, (Dungannon Council) and Davy Hyland, (Newry&Mourne Council) were unable to attend due to prior commitments but are fully supportive of our initiative.

Our aim was to meet representatives from Roe 3 and 4 and CSU, (Controlled Secure Unit) to hear first-hand what their issues and grievances were. We are totally Independent we are only concerned about their human rights within the prison structures.

To give you some background this initiative began in January this year with me writing to NIPS (Northern Ireland Prison Service) and requesting a visit on behalf of the Cllrs. As you might have deduced this has been a long arduous battle with the system, which used many delaying tactics to deter us from going in but we persevered until we were eventually granted the visit. We were to be allowed 40 minutes with each group

Other political parties like Sinn Fein, SDLP and TD’s from the south have not met the same resistance so one can assume that is because 1,We are Republicans, 2, We will genuinely work on behalf of the prisoners and not only pay lip service to the issues.

We were informed that we would meet all of the representatives and at the time of the initial request we named the six prisoners held in CSU at that time who were, Liam Campbell (He has since been released) and the others named were Martin Mc Gilloway, Austin Creggan, Thomas Hamill, Martin Hamill and Gavin Coyle. The prisoners in Roe House would decide who would attend the visit.

We arrived at the prison at 9am and were photographed, finger printed, scanned and searched and sniffed by the dog before we could proceed to the designated area.

Our first meeting was with Republican Prisoners from Roe 4, and they were Paul Duffy, Damian Mc Kenna, Stephen Murney, John Paul Wootton, Neil Hegarty and Damian Mc Laughlin.

This was a very productive meeting were the prisoners discussed the many issues still outstanding from the August 2010 Agreement. There are too many for me to go into but I can inform you of the 3 core issues that require immediate attention to ensure a “Conflict Free Environment” within the gaol. They are 1. Strip Searching, 2. Controlled Movement, 3. Prisoner Isolation.

As you may be aware the prisoners ended their protest on 21st November 2012 (showing maturity from them), whilst accepting there were no pre-conditions on the ending of the protest but that there would be expectations from the statutory agencies to implement the agreement in full. That has not happened and it is now 7 months since their protest ended and the conditions have not improved.

The strip searching of the prisoners continues and though they are not physically resisting the searches, they do not comply so they are brutally held down and forcibly stripped of their clothing leaving the prison domain and re-entering the prison, for court appearances or medical attention, even though they are not in contact with any other people outside of the screws. The simple answer to this is to use The Boss Chair, scan and rub down the prisoners! Why do they not?

The second issue is “Controlled Movement”. Until recently even though the protest ended 7 months ago the “Trained Riot Squad” was in full riot gear on the wing in Roe 4, this has only ceased in the last few weeks after the intervention of The Prison Ombudsman. Currently prisoners are only allowed out on the wing singly and are accompanied by two screws to where they are going. If a prisoner is going to the shower, his cell is opened he is brought to that area and locked in, if another prisoner needs to use another facility the same practice is used. If the prisoners are in the canteen they are locked in for whatever period of time they have the use of it. There are never any more than 3 prisoners out of their cells at any given time. The screws on the wing can deny even these limited accesses stating at times they are a man short on the wing because one has gone to lunch or some other lame excuse. There is very little free association if any, yet the agreement stated there would be unfettered access. Why do they not have this?

The third issue is “Isolation of Republican Prisoners”. The two priority cases of this illegal practice are Gavin Coyle and Gary Mc Daid. Both of these men have been held in Isolation since their arrest, Gavin is held in CSU and Gary in Bann House. I don’t need to go into minute detail here as you have access to their details from others. We need to be aware that both of these men are locked up 23 hours a day and have been removed from Maghaberry several times by MI5 to be interviewed without legal representation and to be “coaxed” to turn informant. Gavin and Gary should be moved immediately to Roe 4 to be with their Republican comrades. They intentionally keep these men isolated to make them feel vulnerable and to show that they have the power to do what they wish. It was our shared belief that an MI5 agenda exists within the gaol with the approval of the British Government.

The prisoners in Roe 4 have been working very hard internally to address all these issues with various people; The Prison Ombudsman, Solicitors, Governors, David Ford and The Director General of Prison Service Sue Mc Allister. Their dedication and commitment to resolving these issues are to be commended and all of us councillors were highly impressed at how they articulated their concerns.

During this part of the visit I enquired as to whether the other prisoners were being brought down to meet with us and I was told that they were not aware we were to see any other prisoners but those from Roe 3,and that Roe 3 had not coordinated their visit with us at this time. He then went to the CSU and only 4 of those prisoners were given access to us. Gavin Coyle was not informed by NIPS of our delegation that day therefore we did not see him. We met with the other 4 men named above and had an in-depth conversation with them about their conditions.

In conclusion my interpretation is this that “The August 2010 Agreement” could be implemented and offers and sign posts the way forward for “A Conflict Free Environment” within the gaol structures and nothing less will be accepted by the prisoners and the longer this prison crisis continues then there is always the chance of further protests in the future. It is up to all of us outside the prison to make sure our prisoners are treated with dignity and respect and that their basic human rights are given. The prisoners have met with other political parties and informed them of the same issues but to no avail. We Independent Councillors are determined to do everything within our power to bring an end to this stalemate.

Angela Nelson.

Derry Sceal


Independent Councillors visit Republican POWs and Internees in MagHaberry | Irish Republican…






‘The Prison service made an agreement they were always going to struggle to deliver – Pauline McCabe.

PRISON officials “were always going to struggle” to deliver on a deal reached with republican inmates at Maghaberry Prison, according to a new report. The report by Prison Ombudsman Pauline McCabe has made 12 rrecommendations in a bid to break the deadlock between Republican prisoners and prison authorities.


Tensions between dissident prisoners and staff have been high since a deal was reached to end a series of protests in August 2010. Since then prisoners have accused the prison service of reneging on commitments to introduce a body scanner to replace strip searches. In May 2011 republicans launched a campaign which led to a no-wash protest. The despuite took a deadly turn after prison officer David Black was shot dead, as he drove to work along the M1 in November, by a priceof roup styling itself ‘the IRA‘. In a surprise move prisoners aligned to the group on Maghaberry’s Roe Four landing ended their protest three weeks later. Within days inmates on Maghaberry’s Roe Three landing, who are affiliated to Oglaigh na hEireann and the Continuity IRA, also ended their protest.

Both Roe Four and Row Three prisoners have urged prison authorites to implement the 2010 aggreement.

In her report the omudsman suggests the Prison Service faced pressures to live up to its end of the bargain. “In effect the Prison Service made an agreement they were always going to struggle to deliver given the staffing arrangements, industrial relations agreements and working practices operational at the time of the August 12 2010 agreement,” she said. Ms McCabe also made a number of recommendations including asking authorities to introduce education programmes and give inmates access to library facilities. The Ombudsman urged prison authorities to address issues of concern surrounding controlled movement and the “negative impact that the overly high staffing levels” have “on the regime and well being of other prisoners”. Carl Reilly from prisoners group Cogus, which represents inmates on Roe Three, said the report “vindicates what campaigners have stated for a long time”. The Maghaberry Prison Adminstration has lost its final peice of wiggle room. This report makes that clear,” he said. “The August [2010] agreement must now be implemented in full, strip-searching must end, controlled movement must end and prisoners must be allowed to live with dignity and respect.” A spokesman for the Prison Said : “The report contains a number of detailed recommendations to which the Prison Service will give detailed consideration and it will respond to them in writing in due course.”

With many thanks to : Connia Young, Irish News.


A DERRY man charged in connection with the discovery of mortars in March R has been approached in prison by MI5 to turn ssupergrass, a court has been told. A solicitor for Gary McDaid, of Glenowen Park, told a remand hearing on Thursday at Derry Magistrates Court that while in Maghaberry Prison his client had been asked on six occasions to plead guilty and become an assisting offender.


The approaches were made in the absence of McDaid’s solicitors, he said.Representations had been made to the Prison Service, the Chief Consable, the Secretary of State and the High Court in regards to the approaches. Deputy district judge John Meehan said one possible remedy could be the granting of bail to McDaid. He adjourned the case for one week for the prosecution to show cause why McDaid should not get bail. The Northern Ireland Office confirmed in a letter that the PSNI had visited McDaid in Maghaberry. McDaid and co-accused, Seamus McLaughlin (35) of Eastway Gardens, Creggan, Derry, are both charged with conspiring to cause expolsions and pocessing improvised mortars on March 3. The charges relate to the discovery of four mortars in a van on the Letterkenny Road in the city.


ANOTHER Prisoner at Maghaberry Jail in Co AAn trim has been found dead.


Geoffrey Singleton, 42, from the Armagh  area, was found collapsed in his ccell on Monday. He was pronounced dead after being moved to an ambulance,

It is understood he took his own life. The police, coroner and prisoner ombudsman have been informed, The ddirector general of the Prison Service, Sue McAlluster, has offered her condolences to his family and friends.


Inmate was on remand during death bid !

A PRISONER was granted bail as he fought for his life in a Belfast hospital after an attempted suicide in jail, we can reveal. But the bizarre circumstances mean the Northern Ireland Prison Service do not have to record Joseph Rainey‘s death as a ‘ death in custody ‘.

2013-05-01 15.12.16

Once again, however, the Prisoner Ombuinye will be called in to investigate the tragic circumstances at the controversy-hit Hydebank Wood Prison in South Belfast. And it’s the first major headache for new Governor Paul Norbury who only took up he new post at Hydebank two weeks ago. The jail has been dogged with scandals and there have been a number of inmates who have died at the prison which caters for young offenders as well as women.


Last year the Governor Paul Alcock was suspended after inmates Frances McKeown and Samuel Carson took their own lives within hours of each other.The latest tragedy came as Joseph Patrick Thomas Rainey was in Hydebank Wood and Young Offenders ‘ Centre on remand awaiting trial for an attempted burglary charge. The 20-year-old, from Oldpark Avenue, North Belast, tried to hang himself in the prison’s Beech House but was cut down by prison officers. After 10 days on a life support machine, he passed away on April 19. The Sunday World has now learned that in an extraordinary twist, Rainey was granted bail in court – as he fought for his life in hospital a week after he tried to commit suicide. His case was listed for April 17 at Belfast Magistrates Court where he was officially remanded on bail and then last Wednesday,  April 24, the charge was officially withdrawn – after he had died. On Saturday night the Prison Service said it ‘accepted’ that his death was not a ‘death in custody’ because he had been granted bail – even ‘though the event which led to his death occurred behind bars. And they confirmed the Prisoner Omdudsman, Pauline McCabe, would be investigating.


Part of that investigation will centre around the fact that Joseph Rainey was deemed to be a Supporting Prisoner At Risk (SPAR) by the Nortern Ireland Prison Service. But despite prison chiefs recognising he was a potential danger to himself they decided not to place him in a specially designed cell for such inmates. Prison sources have said the Prison Service could be let off the hook bencause of the technicality. “Incredibly they are not treating this as a ‘death in custody’ because Rainey got bail before he died,” says a source. “but it’s yet another embarrassing case for them to deal with. The new Governor had barely taken his coat off and he has now had this chucked on his lap. “It’s not a great start but the incident happened before he officially started in the job.” A spokesman from the Prison Service said on Saturday night : “As Mr Rainey was bailed prior to his death it is accepted that this is not a ‘death in custody’ but as the cause of death is directly attibutable to his time in custody, his death will be the subject of a Prisoner Ombudsman investigation in line with her terms of reference.” Paul Norbury was appointed governor of Hydebank Wood in February 10 months after his predecessor was suspended following allegations of misconduct.


It emerged rather surprisingly, that Mr Norbury was the only candidate who applied for the job which comes with a salary of £72,000. Mr Norbury has been a prison governer elsewhere since 1982, with his most recent role in Wymott Prison in Leyland, Lancashire. An interim governor has been running Hydebank Wood since Gary Alcok was suspended in May last year. He was suspended after a report into the circumstances surronding two young inmates who took their own lives within three hours of each other in May 2011. Both prisoners, Frances  McKeown and Samuel Carson, had been subjected to bullying inside the jail. The suspension, after an interim report carried out by Ombudsman Ms. McCabe sent shockwaves through the Prison Service as it was the first time a jail Governor had been suspended from his post in over 140 years. In August Mr Alcock was charged with misconduct after a recommendation by an independant team from the Scottish Prison Service who were asked to carry out an investigation.

With many thanks to : Steven Moore, Sunday World.



A WOMEN has come out of retirement to become the new director – general of the Northern Ireland Prison Service. Sue McAllister ( 51 ), from South Yorkshire, will take up her £100,000-a-year job on July 3rd.Sue McAllister and David Ford

New director general of the Northern Ireland Prison service Sue McAllister with Justice Minister David Ford

She has been chosen to press ahead with major changes to a regime that costs £140 million a year to run. ” I do not underestimate the scale of the reform programme that will be delivered over the next few years, one of the most challenging undertaken by the public sector anywhere in the United Kingdom,” she said yesterday. ” I am confident that I can lead the prison service through this change programme and with the support of colleagues, the department and the minister, create a service with offender rehabilitation at its core which plays it’s part in building safer communities across Northern Ireland.”LONG KESH 1979 - MAGHABERRY 2011 !

Mrs McAllister has 25 years experience in the prison service, including working as a governor at HMP Gartree and Onley young offenders centre. Her previous job was as head of the Public-Sector Bids Unit in the Ministry of Justice before she took early retirement in August last year. She will arrive in Belfast following an agreement between the Prison Officers Association on new working arrangements – a significant element of the reform programme which also involves plans to reduce staffing levels and cut the prison budget by £16m over the next four years. The first of 200 newly recruited custody officers are expected to begin duties later this year.Fenian

Mrs McAllister has been in the north before as part of a team that reviewed arrangements at MAGHABERRY following the suicide of a life sentence prisoner who was found hanged at his fourth attempt to take his life. She is married with two grown-up childeren and replaces Colin McConnell who left after 16 months to become head of the Scottish Prison Service. Justice minister David Ford said she was joining the service at a crucial stage. ” A number of key milestones have been reached, including the successful launch of the exit scheme with over 150 staff leaving the service, a recruitment competition under way for new custody officers and an aggreement with the POA on new working practices,” Mr Ford said. ” This is only the start of the reform programme and it is important to maintain the momentum for change that has been established. ” Sue brings a wealth of experience to this demanding post and I know that she is committed to driving forward the change agenda.”

Report is critical of Northern prison service

Jail and prison officer
CJINI said it was disappointed at the pace of change in the prison service

More than a third of recommendations made after a Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJINI) report into the country’s prisons have not been “met in full” over a year later

That is the conclusion of a follow-up to the group’s November 2010 report into mistaken prisoner releases.

Four more prisoners had been released by mistake since then, the group said.

It added it was disappointed at the overall pace of change.

CJINI acknowledged there had been significant effort by the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS).

However, it said the work of the NIPS had “been focused on longer term process re-engineering and fundamentally neglected the immediacy of the ongoing risks”.

CJINI said that of the 25 NIPS recommendations following its initial report, 14 (56%) can now be said “to be met in full”.

It said a further 10 (40%) can be said to be partly completed and one (4%) discharged (no longer relevant).

Dr Michael Maguire, chief inspector of Criminal Justice Inspection said: “Well over one-third of the recommendations made have not been met in full some 15 months after the first report.

“For example, it is disappointing that formal training for front-line staff has still not been delivered, with the most notable for duty governors who are expected to authorise final release.

“There is also a need for job guidance and a continued focus on the full implementation of existing controls by way of supervision and quality checks.

Justice Minister

Compliance and quality assurance with robust mechanisms must be sustained.

“Both the operational and strategic focus needs to be maintained on the issues, and ultimately, the accelerated completion of all the outstanding recommendations.”

Justice Minister David Ford has instructed the prison service to “fully implement” the outstanding recommendations within the next six months.

He said he agreed that “despite considerable progress, the pace of change needs to quicken”.

“This report recognises the encouraging work and significant investment undertaken by the prison service to address this issue,” he added.

“However, it also identifies the need for the completion of the outstanding recommendations and I have instructed the prison service that this work must be finished by the end of September.”

Dr Maguire said the potential release in error of any prisoner could be a public protection issue.

“We need to strive for 100% accuracy where we can and that means getting the thing right at source, providing support to front-line training and making sure the right check and balances are in place is important,” he said.

Mr Ford acknowledged that the prison service had been criticised for the erroneous release of prisoners, but said the efforts of staff and management since then to address the problem deserved recognition.

“I agree with Dr Maguire’s statement that even when all the recommendations have been implemented in full, the risks of erroneous releases cannot be entirely eliminated,” he said.

“The prison service discharges around 4,500 prisoners from custody each year and is currently operating at an accuracy level of 99.74%, comparable with other services.

“Despite this, there can be no room for complacency and improving its arrangements to safeguard against further erroneous releases is part of fundamental change programme being undertaken by the prison service.”



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Maghaberry searches report not published

David Ford
Mr Ford said publishing the report would compromise prison security
Justice Minister David Ford has refused to publish the findings of a Prison Service study into alternatives to body searches at Maghaberry.

He said the report contained sensitive security and commercial information.

But this has been dismissed as a feeble excuse by the SDLP‘s John Dallat.

“As an ordinary backbencher who asked the question on behalf of a constituent, I feel I have not been given the service I’m in entitled to,” he said.

However, the minister has insisted it would be irresponsible to compromise prison security.


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