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


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.”

HMP Maghaberry- Civil rights founder calls for fact-finding mission

N.B. –Media contacts should view EXTRA @ end.32 CSM in defence of the Nation

There was, at least superficially, what appeared to have been a genuine bid to avoid conflict between protesting supporters of non-conforming republican prisoners and participants at a loyalist order march, on the streets of Derry, on August 12th 2010. Such resulted in long negotiations before an agreement was formally established. All those involved in these negotiations; the prisoner representatives, the facilitators and the gaol/N.I.O representatives all signed up to it, as a bond of their sincerities.

As part of the arrangement it was “agreed” that a new technology led search would replace the humiliating strip searches in place prior to 12th August. Since Sept 2010 that agreement has been reneged upon. On as many as 40 occasions, political prisoners have
been subjected to brutal forced strip searches, while leaving for and returning from court and hospital appointments.

Within the prison and within merely four weeks, this alleged agreement seemed to have been completely abandoned, by the POA-Prison Officers’ Association. Since then there has been what can only be described as a deafening silence from certain quarters. This is certainly the case with a number of political representatives who assured both the prisoners and their families that they would be monitoring the situation and would challenge any human rights violations against prisoners. There should be no hiding place for anyone committing such offences against prisoners, and therefore an urgent need for a humanitarian fact-finding delegation to visit this prison at the earliest possible opportunity.

Towards the end of February, as a co-founder of NICRA in 1967, and co-ordinator of the Derry & N-West Civil Rights Network, I penned, what has become known as a “global letter”. In such, I endeavoured to highlight known facts pertaining to HMP Maghaberry.

The letter commented: “There was a promise that strip-searches would be replaced by the use of airport-style, electronic scanning. No doubt many members of the public breathed a sigh of relief that the prison authorities had abandoned their ‘old ways’ of carrying out body-searches.

A recent letter, no doubt smuggled out of that institution, signed by Damien McLaughlin, was highly upsetting and graphic in its detail. In short, this man has been subjected to ten violent strip searches in the previous twelve weeks, before his letter was posted on the Internet as recently as February 13th.

The men are led to a small cubicle by two prison officers and held there for around an hour if they refuse to co-operate, and at times a governor will read them the prison rules. Outside a riot squad consisting of eight members is getting ready. They enter in full riot gear, helmets, shields, and body protection to overpower each individual prisoner. Their jeans and other outer garments go first, then shoes, socks, vests and even boxer shorts are embarrassingly forcibly removed, while one officer holds down the head, and others tightly grip arms and legs.

The prisoners describe this modus operandi in different ways, speaking of it as “agony” or “extremely painful”. They write that often it is “hard to breathe because of gloves covering face and mouth”. On occasions their clothes are actually cut off. When returned they are escorted to their cells, more times than not, suffering great stress and pain. What their relatives are going through I can only guess at and no wonder they are protesting. As in the civil rights days the streets will undoubtedly become the only reliable parliament for bringing grievances and issues unto the public arena.

I ask myself. My God, what has changed for the political prisoners? What are ‘our’ politicians saying or doing on this issue? Has the local media taken a “Three ‘wise’ monkeys” approach for one dubious reason or another?

Agree or disagree with their political perspective, Irish prisoners should not be so brutally abused. These strip searches are not merely inhumane and degrading, but, in my humble opinion, amount to torture, plain and simple. Mr. McLaughlin’s letter is a wake-up call to all of us. We know too well from recent history that the plight of prisoners, in the here and now, can only be ignored at our peril”.

Alleged abuses need to be highlighted publicly by everyone as and when they happen. Those who gave those assurances in August 2010 should now be challenged to publicly condemn such barbaric treatment and hold to account those who have perpetuated such acts. A special onus falls on those who profess to be advocates of human rights, therefore this appeal, “To Whom It May Concern”.

Is Mise,
Le Meas,

Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaighaigh, B.A. [Hons.],
Address supplied.

Mobile: 07783660181

EXTRA: Sent to: David Ford, MLA, Minister for Justice-david.ford@allianceparty.org; International; secretariat, Amnesty International; CAJ-Committee on the Administration of Justice [N.I] Adrienne@caj.org.uk; leading politicians including SDLP executive & MLAs; local, national & transnational media.

PUBLISHED ON BEHALF OF :   Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh.

Prison union calls for strip searches rethink

Finlay Spratt, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Prison Officer's Association Northern Ireland. Picture by Brian Little

Finlay Spratt, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Prison Officer‘s Association Northern Ireland. Picture by Brian Little

THE prison officers’ union has called for a rethink on the routine use of full body searches in Ulster’s jails.

Finlay Spratt of the Prison Officers Association (POA) believes the practice can never be dispensed with completely, but is angry at the lack of progress on introducing new technology.

The POA chairman described the justice minister’s failure to introduce state-of-the-art search equipment as “completely unacceptable” – claiming the delays were causing unnecessary tensions within our prisons.

“The governor of a prison must always reserve the right to authorise a full body search but, in this day and age, there’s no excuse for not introducing the type of search equipment used in airports,” Mr Spratt said.

“If these new machines are good enough to stop people bringing things on to aeroplanes, with hundreds of people on board, then they should be adequate for prison establishments.”

Republican groups have been campaigning for an end to strip searches for some time and have found an unlikely ally in the prison officers’ union.

“The fact is, the prison officers on the wings have to deal with the problems caused by these decisions which are not of their making, yet they are the ones who bear the brunt of the backlash,” Mr Spratt said.

The NI Prison Service is currently undergoing a radical overhaul following recommendations made by a review panel.

Although the POA agrees with the vast majority of the suggested changes, Mr Spratt is opposed to some aspects of the process.

“The arrogant attitude of senior management in implementing the changes is breathtaking. The whole prison review process is overly expensive, yet they’re creating an impression that the existing prison officers themselves are poor value for money,” he said.

“The proposed £18,000 starting salary for the new custody officers does not reflect the true nature of the job, particularly for those required to work with protesting republican prisoners in Maghaberry.

“A prison officer in the Republic will be earning double that of a new custody officer in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Spratt said almost 600 officers had volunteered for redundancy due to low morale.

The review is a waste of public money. We already have a highly-paid director general yet they’re paying over £130,000 to a ‘change manager,’ as well as other staff, to oversee the process.

“They’re also forcing through unpopular shift changes based on a private sector model and the whole process will achieve very little other than create more jobs for civil servants.”

And he added: “As well as that, we feel we’re being used as a political football and that our history is being taken away from us at every turn.”

A spokeswoman for the NI Prison Service said “alternative technologies” to body searches were being explored including the possibility of low-dose X-ray technology.

In relation to the cost of the prisons’ review she said: “Reviews completed to date have demonstrated that there are widespread efficiencies and savings which can be implemented without detriment and indeed with improvements to front-line services. The current cost of delivering services is highly disproportionate due to the high salary levels for existing prison officers.”

The spokeswoman added: “The starting salary for new custody officers is highly competitive within the local and national markets. Those who successfully complete the first year will progress over a number of years to the top of the scale at £23,000 which compares very favourably with other jurisdictions. The role also carries additional benefits in pension, security of employment and future promotion prospects.”



The record of British Brutality in Ireland.

The European Commission of Human Rights has stated the methods used by the British in Occupied Ireland and they have; “considered the combined use of the five methods to amount to torture, on the grounds that (1) the intensity of the stress caused by techniques creating sensory deprivation “directly affects the personality physically and mentally”; and (2) “the systematic application of the techniques for the purpose of inducing a person to give information shows a clear resemblance to those methods of systematic torture which have been known over the ages..a modern system of torture falling into the same category as those systems.applied in previous times as a means of obtaining information and confessions.”

The British first introduced political internment in Long Kesh Concentration camp in occupied Ireland. The concentration camp called Long Kesh was where the British locked Irish people up just because they didnt like the look of them, they were never charged with a crime nor did they ever get their day in court, as no charges were ever made against these people, they were simply dragged of the road or from their homes and locked up for years without any legal due process. This camp only closed in the 1980s which was covered up by the British for several in renaming the place and calling it a prison. Today the British moved their interned Irish political prisoners of conscience, to what has now become the reality of Maghaberry Concentration Camp.

Currently the situation of Irish political prisoners in Maghaberry Concentration Camp is catastrophic and disturbing, which includes prisoners dying without proper medical attention. The political prisoners, including a recently politically interned female, declare the ongoing use of various forms of torture, rape and abuse, with political prisoners, brutally tortured, raped with a stick into the anus by British provoked sectarian drunken prison warders. Other Irish political prisoners have been raped with iron bars that were introduced into their anus, some of whom suffered massive hemorrhages. Other political prisoners now suffer from mental disorders after being brutally tortured, raped by drunken sectarian prison officers, forcefully inserting their fingers through the anus.

A petition to commence an immediate, impartial and independent investigation into the deplorable situation at Maghaberry Prison, before it is too late can be found at the link below. Please sign and re-distribute this article to your friends, as the British are censoring it on the internet and slowing down all distribution with intranets worldwide in all of their compliant states especially in all of Ireland and the Irish abroad.





Sinn Fein Advice Centre, Circular Road, Castle...
Image via Wikipedia

 Tuesday-Sunday, 31 May-5 June, 2011

>>>>>> Support grows for Maghaberry campaign
 Up to 500 people gathered outside the gates of the notorious Maghaberry
 prison in Lisburn on Sunday afternoon in protest at the treatment of
 republican prisoners at the jail.

 Despite a number of cars and buses being stopped by the PSNI and
 prevented from attending, relatives and supporters of the prisoners were
 happy with the turnout.

 Conditions for prisoners have deteriorated in recent weeks, with an
 increase in beatings, degrading strip searches and other human rights

 Last August, following talks with the British authorities, an agreement
 was reached to end strip searching before domestic and legal visits.

 However, over the last few weeks, around 15 prisoners have been holding
 their own protest after the agreement was unilaterally binned by the
 Stormont regime.

 In addition to the beatings, the prisoners are now being subjected to
 23-24 hour lock-up and many have been forced to begin a no wash protest.

 Newry Councillor David Hyland said the Six-County Justice Minister David
 Ford was holding out on information that could bring the protests to an

 “The minister, we believe, has had a set of recommendations for the
 assessment which would clarify it for us and bring this protest to an
 end,” Mr Hyland said

 “He has had this since January of this year and he hasn’t acted on it –
 the big question for us is why.”

 Runai ginearalta eirigi Breandan Mac Cionnaith added his party’s support
 for the protest.

 He said: “The situation in Maghaberry jail has reached crisis point.
 Republican prisoners are being brutalised and assaulted by gangs of
 prison officers on an appallingly regular basis – the latest victim
 being Harry Fitzsimons as recently as Monday.”

 He said the situation was “intolerable” and “goes against not just the
 August 12 agreement but every notion of humane treatment.”

 “Policy in Maghaberry prison is currently being dictated by the
 notoriously sectarian Prison Officers Association, with all the negative
 consequences that that entails.

 “Pressure must be placed on the British government to face down these
 bigots and implement a humane prison regime, in line with the August 12
 agreement. Ultimately, only the full restoration of political status for
 political prisoners will resolve the conflict in Maghaberry.”

 Sinn Fein’s Raymond McCartney called for the outstanding agreement
 between prisoners and the prison administration to be implemented in
 full “as a matter of urgency”.

 “It is important that prisoners rights are protected and that human
 rights are to the fore of the prison regime,” he said.

 “I will be pressing the prison administration and the Justice Minister
 on the mater to ensure that this is done. The situation cannot be
 allowed to deteriorate any further and a resolution must be forthcoming
 without further delay.”

 He also reiterated his call on British Direct Ruler Owen Paterson to
 rescind his decision to summarily imprison Marian Price, secretary of
 the 32 County Sovereignty Committee.

 “The revoking of Marian Price’s licence is completely unacceptable.

 “The move by Owen Paterson amounts to detention without trial; this runs
 contrary to natural justice. The Justice system must be human rights
 based and the revoking of Marian Price’s licence is totally

 “Sinn Fein raised our concerns on this issue with the British Secretary
 of State at the time of Marian Price’s arrest and will continue to do so
 in the interests of justice and the human rights of the individual.”


Support Protest for Political Prisoners

Barbed tape at a prison
Image via Wikipedia

Éirígí Abú

éirígí [www.eirigi.org] press release: 01-06-2011

Support Protest for Political Prisoners

éirígí general secretary Breandán MacCionnaith has added the party’s support to

this Sunday’s planned protest at Maghaberry prison outside Belfast.

Conditions for the republican prisoners held in the prison have deteriorated

rapidly since the collapse of an agreement concerning their treatment earlier

this year, leading the families and friend of the prisoners to call for support

from the public.

MacCionnaith said: “The situation in Maghaberry jail has reached crisis point.

Republican prisoners are being brutalised and assaulted by gangs of prison

officers on an appallingly regular basis – the latest victim being Harry

Fitzsimons as recently as Monday.

“In contravention of the agreement that was reached in August last year,

prisoners are regularly being subjected to humiliating strip searches and face

the threat of beatings and the forced removal of their clothing when they

refuse to consent to these searches.  The prisoners are subjected to 23-24 hour

lock-up and many have been forced to begin a no wash protest.

“This is an intolerable situation that goes against not just the August 12

agreement but every notion of humane treatment.”

MacCionnaith continued: “Policy in Maghaberry prison is currently being dictated

by the notoriously sectarian Prison Officers Association, with all the negative

consequences that that entails.

“Pressure must be placed on the British government to face down these bigots and

implement a humane prison regime, in line with the August 12 agreement.

Ultimately, only the full restoration of political status for political

prisoners will resolve the conflict in Maghaberry.

“To begin building this pressure, éirígí is calling on republicans, socialists

and all those concerned about human rights to take two hours out of their

weekend and join the protest at Maghaberry this Sunday.”

People are asked to assemble at the Maghaberry prison car park at 3.30pm this

Sunday [June 5].

by Éirígí Abú on Wednesday, 01 June 2011 at 20:44


Dissidents on lockdown as Maghaberry protest grows


Prison authorities have ordered a lockdown on the dissident republican wings at Maghaberry Jail over fears that a protest could escalate.

Prisoners were informed of the 72-hour lockdown in a memo delivered to their cells on Tuesday morning.

It is claimed the measure could be extended by a further 28 days if they do not comply with an earlier evening lock-up time.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, a dissident leadership source said “a slow-motion train crash” was happening inside the prison — and warned of consequences outside the jail.

In a sinister threat in March, the group Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) told this newspaper it had the personal details of a number of prison staff “up to and including governor level”.

The jail protest is about a number of issues — strip searches, lock-up times and freedom of movement inside Roe House, where on two landings more than 30 dissident prisoners linked to a number of groups are held.

These include the Real and Continuity IRA organisations and ONH.

Some of those prisoners are now involved in a so-called dirty protest.

Others have been involved in “hand-to-hand fights” with prison officers in recent days.

Attempts by facilitators, who brokered an agreement between prison chiefs and prisoners last August, to gain access to the prison have “failed up to this point”.

Commenting on the developing protest, a source said: “The prisoners have ruled nothing out.”

He did not elaborate on that comment, but added: “This could all be resolved by the Prison Service.”

The source claimed what was happening was “an attempt to use the prison as a breaker’s yard”, and said: “The agreement (last August) is opposed by a large section of the Prison Officers Association.”

A spokesman for the Department of Justice told the Belfast Telegraph: “The Northern Ireland Prison Service can confirm that following non-compliance with lock-up times, a number of prisoners have been placed under Rule 32, which restricts their association.”

He added: “In line with agreed procedures, this will be reviewed within 72 hours.”

By Brian Rowan
Thursday, 26 May 2011
Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/dissidents-on-lockdown-as-maghaberry-protest-grows-16004387.html#ixzz1NScx6alY

Colin Duffy
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