On Thursday 21 February a drawing of Mairéad Farrell was barred from leaving the gaol and confiscated. When we enquired as to why this was the case we received a response from the security governor stating that the drawing contravened gaol policy.
He then stated that the drawing was ‘glorifying a dead terrorist’. This comes despite the fact that many such crafts have been left out in the past without issue. This is clearly a response from the governor in question to recent media reports regarding discrimination against the Irish language in Maghaberry.
This is a message from a fool who has been to the fore of the crusade against all expressions of Irish cultural identity. His message is clear: if his establishment is challenged he will tighten the screw further. This fool and his cohorts have no right to even speak Mairéad’s name.
She was a young woman who gave her life for freedom- these people are thugs in suits surrounded by amoral, dim-witted minions. This recent stunt like the many other efforts of the administration will fail to silence us. It has been too long now that these people have felt a sense of impunity in their actions.
We remain confident that the Republican community is organising effectively to defeat these vermin and see the implementation of the August 2010 Agreement! Republican Prisoners, Roe 4 Maghaberry gaol 25/02/2019
With many thanks to: Saoradh POW Department for the original posting
The recent internment of Neil Hegarty, 36-hours after his release from Maghaberry after serving 5-years is evidence, if needed, of the true nature of the 6-County State.
Neil’s return to Maghaberry was based on lies told by employees of G4S, a mercenary style security group renowned internationally for its corruption and human right abuses.
They falsely claimed that Neil had refused an electronic tag which was an oppressive measure imposed on him and this was quickly used as a pretext by the PSNI, Parole Commissioner, and Stormont D.O.J to revoke Neil’s release licence.
It must be noted that Sinn Féin and the SDLP are directly responsible for Neil’s internment. This was undertaken by institutions which they support under the laughable fresh start counter insurgency agenda offered by “human rights champion” Monica McWilliams.
Where now are the PSNI supporting spokespeople of the GAA and Catholic Church such as Joe Brolly, Brian McAvoy and Gary Donegan when their precious British Crown Forces are dragging Irish Men from their families to be interned without trial? Will they remain silent like the 26-County administration and Ireland’s trendy left?
Through active support and complacency these quarters have enabled years of penal and judicial oppression in the form of oppressive prison conditions, isolation, internment by remand, licence and terrorist register conditions and the denial of bail etc. They are hypocrites!
For those who believe that these tactics will intimidate Republicans into silence, you must remember, we can endure much more than you can inflict.
Republican Prisoners wish to highlight the continued use of draconian health care arrangements as a tool of oppression by the Jail Administration.
Over the past number of months several Republican Prisoners have been subjected to degrading treatment when attending outside hospital, in the form of forced strip-searches and the denial of doctor-patient confidentiality.
This process involves a last-minute notification after which we are taken to a holding cell at the jails reception. There, we are subjected to a forced strip-search by 6 members of the Riot Squad; regardless of the medical condition. We are then handcuffed to a screw and taken to a secure van where we remain handcuffed and in full view of the escorts. Upon arrival at the hospital we are transported from the van still handcuffed to a screw and we remain handcuffed during the consultation.
Despite it being internationally recognised that all patients medical history is to be held under legal and ethical obligations of non-disclosure we are forced to discuss our medical business and undergo sensitive procedures with screws watching and listening: This doesn’t even happen in Guantanamo Bay.
Our return to the jail follows the same process, we are either handcuffed to escort screws or in the secure transport in their presence. The process concludes with another forced strip-search.
This again, reflects the length to which the loyalist NIPS will go to oppress Republican Prisoners; by violating International Convention with impunity.
Statement by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton
Republican Sinn Féin salutes Gabriel Mackle on his courageous defence of his distinct identity and autonomy as an Irish Republican POW within the Maghaberry prison. Irish Republican POWs have historically had to run the gauntlet of British and 26-County state attempts to criminalise them and deny them their identity, shamefully on this occasion this latest injustice comes at the hands of those purporting to be fellow Irish Republicans. To compound the injustice is the fact that it was the CABHAIR supported prisoners who won the right of Republican prisoners to have their separate identity accepted by the prison regime. The CABHAIR supported prisoners led the dirty protests which resulted in the August 2010 Agreement.
This attempt to deny Gabriel Mackle his own political identity and autonomy brings only shame to those who have a hand in it. By cloaking their actions in the name of Republicanism they sully that noble banner. A statement issued under the name of “Republican Prisoners, Roe 4” in Maghaberry prison by the group styling itself Saoradh is quite simply a tissue of lies and calculated smear, designed to hide what is really happening here.
In an attempt to smear Gabriel Mackle the statement cites his previous membership of the British Army’s Royal Irish Regiment. This is a matter of public record. Irish Republican history is littered with instances of Irish patriots who having served in the British Army subsequently gave honourable and heroic service to the cause of Irish freedom, James Connolly, Michael Mallin and Tom Barry are notable examples.
This statement cannot disguise the reality of what is going on in Maghaberry. Gabriel Mackle’s right, a right inherent to all Republican POWs, to maintain his own political identity is being attacked. Historically this right has always been respected by Republican prisoners regardless of organisation. However, this latest move to deny Gabriel Mackle this right echoes the actions of the Provisionals who in 1986 forced Republican prisoners who refused to renounce their Republican principles and abandon their allegiance to the All-Ireland Republic off prison landings.
Today it seems similar tactics are being employed by a grouping that it seems will not tolerate any alternative views. When these people speak of unity we now can see what they really mean. They are simply Provo – lite, aping the tactics and mindset of the Provisionals. They will be no more successful in their attempts to intimidate faithful Irish Republicans than the reformist Provos were before them.
We will not be intimidated or deflected from our work. Over the decades we have seen many such groupings styling themselves as Republican come and go. Republican Sinn Féin and the Republican Movement long predate them and will long outlast them. This year we mark 100 years since the historic 1917 Ard Fheis at which Sinn Féin adopted a Republican constitution. We are proud of our history of unbroken continuity of principle and organisation. Over the course of that century faithful Irish Republicans have defended that constitution from those who have attempted to subvert it, in 1921, 1926, 1946, 1969/70 and 1986. We will remain steadfast in our allegiance to the All-Ireland Republic of Easter and determined in our pursuit of our Republican goals. Once more we salute Gabriel Mackle and pledge him our continued solidarity and support. Maith thú Gabriel.
With many thanks to: Des Dalton, President Republican Sinn Féin.
On 28th October 1976, 28 years ago, Sinn Féin Vice President Máire Drumm was shot dead in her hospital bed.
Máire Drumm (née McAteer), was born in the townland of Killeen, South Armagh, on 22 October 1919 to a staunchly republican family. Máire’s mother had been active in the Tan War and the Civil War.
In 1940, Máire joined Sinn Féin in Dublin. In 1942, she moved to Belfast, which became her adopted city and she continued her republican activities. Every weekend, Máire would carry food parcels to the republican prisoners in Crumlin Road Jail and it was here that she met Jimmy Drumm, who she married in 1946.
When the IRA renewed the armed struggle in the late 1950s, Jimmy was again interned without trial from ’57 to ’61.
Máire became actively involved in the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s. She worked tirelessly to rehouse the thousands of nationalists forced from their homes by unionist/loyalist pogroms.
During her work as a Civil Rights activist, Máire emerged as one of the Republican Movement’s most gifted leaders and organisers. Máire was the first to warn that the British troops sent in as “peace keepers” were a force of occupation. Máire was a dynamic and inspirational speaker. Once, when addressing a rally in Derry after the shooting of two men from the city, Máire said:
“The people of Derry are up off their bended knees. For Christ sake stay up. People should not shout up the IRA, they should join the IRA.”
In 1972, Máire became Vice President of Sinn Féin. Due to their dedication to the republican struggle, Máire’s family was continuously harassed by the RUC, British Army and by loyalist intimidation. The British Army even constructed an observation post facing their home in Andersonstown. At one point, her husband and son were interned at the same time. Her husband, Jimmy became known as the most jailed republican in the Six Counties. Máire was also jailed twice for ‘seditious’ speeches, once along with her daughter.
In 1976, her eyesight began to fail and she was admitted for a cataract operation to the Mater Hospital, Belfast. On 28 October 1976, as Máire lay in her hospital bed, loyalist killers wearing doctors white coats walked into her room and shot her dead.
Máire Drumm, freedom fighter and voice of the people, was buried in Milltown Cemetery. One of her most famous quotes was:
“We must take no steps backward, our steps must be onward, for if we don’t, the martyrs that died for you, for me, for this country will haunt us forever.”
With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil War History.
Maghaberry Prison: Reaction to damning report :
Red Cross to chair forum seeking solution to Maghaberry dispute.
THE International Committee of the Red Cross has agreed to chair a prison forum involving republican inmates in a bid to ease tensions at a Co Antrim jail.
The Red Cross took on the role after being asked by justice minister David Ford and receiving the backing of republican prisoners in Maghaberry. The involvement of the internationally recognised humanitarian organisation comes after years of conflict at the high security prison. The establishment of the forum was recommended by an independent ‘stocktake’ published last year. However, republican inmates refused to take part in the forum after a former member of the prison’s Board of Visitors, Tom Millar, was appointed as chairman without consultation. It is understood both prisoners and senior jail officials will take part in the forum which will discuss the stocktake. Republican prisoners are currently held in the prison’s Roe Four and Roe Three landings. The forum will be chaired by Geoff Loane, who is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) head of office in Belfast. “The ICRC believes such a role fits within the organisation’s humanitarian mandate and is compatible with its fundamental principles of neutrality, independence and impartiality,” he said.
“After having consulted on this matter, the ICRC accepted the position of chair for a six-month period on the basis that all parties to the forum agree to the ICRC taking up the role. He said the forum is “now addressing substantive issues on the basis of an agreed agenda.” In the past Mr Loane has overseen ICRC visits to the US-run Guantanamo Bay. He has also worked in conflict zones including the Balkans, Middle East and the Horn of Africa. The Red Cross has been active in the North of Ireland since the 1950s and undertook prison visits until 1999, a year after the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) was signed. The Geneva-based organisation set up a full-time office in Belfast in 2011. Last year’s stocktake was carried out by an independent assessment team appointment by justice minister David Ford to look at a deal struck in 2010 to relax strip searches and controlled movement in the prison. Republicans claim that authorities have failed to implement the 2010 agreement. They also say that prison chiefs have failed to act on the last year’s stocktake. In 2012 republican prisoners ended a no-wash protest weeks after prison officer David Black was shot dead by the ‘IRA’ as he travelled to work at Maghaberry prison along the M1 Motorway. Tensions in the jail boiled over earlier this year after prisoners claimed that movement was restricted during building work. Last week republicans held protests after claims that two inmates were forcibly moved from their cells. A spokesman for the DoJ said: “The minister of justice has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to act as independent chair to the prisoners forums for separated prisoners. “The ICRC has agreed to this request in its neutral and impartial role.” Mandy Duffy from the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association (IRPWA) said: “Republican political prisioners will not be drawn into a situation which is all process and no progress even if it is chaired by an independent body such as ICRC.” Connla Young, The Irish News. For the oranginal story.
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CONTINUITY IRA prisoners in Maghaberry jail have threatened to boycott all visits over plans to change the way they take place.
Visits for republican inmates at the Co Antrim prison are held in private “booths” with inmates allowed to sit alongside loved ones and hold their children. However, they claim that under new proposed changes later this year the visting area will be reduced in size and the layout changed resulting in personal contact being limited. The Continuity IRA has seven prisoners housed in the jail’s Roe Three landing. Tensions in the prison have been growing in recent months with inmates accusing authorities of reneging on a 2010 deal to end strip searches and controlled movement. In a statement the Continuity IRA prisoners said: “We, as republican prisoners, will not be criminalised and so cannot, and will not, accept this arrangement. “We will refuse all visits that are conducted in this manner, as we will not allow the prison regime to humilate us our or families.” A spokesman for the prison service said: “No changes have taken place and visits continue as normal.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News, for the orgional story.
Statement from the Charlie Agnew Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin, Armagh City
“Republican Prisoners have a long history of honouring their word when on compassionate leave. The current British administration seems intent on punishing Republican prisoners during the most difficult and vulnerable time they can go through” according to a statement from the Charlie Agnew Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin, Armagh City, on June 1, 2012.
“Republican prisoners who are currently incarcerated in Maghaberry prison are enduring the most horrendous conditions and barbarity at the hands of the British administration, propped up by all the politicos in Stormont. The prisoners have to go through invasive strip searching; controlled movement is imposed on Republican landings and free association completely removed.
“Life as a Republican prisoner is one of hardship and daily challenges. Due to the inhumane conditions, the Republican prisoners have been on a no wash protest to try and end the unacceptable conditions. Now it would seem Republican prisoners are facing the refusal of compassionate parole as a means to punish them for their political beliefs and protest.
“In January 2012, protesting POW Damien McKenna was refused compassionate parole to attend his father’s funeral with no recourse to appeal the decision. The decision was engineered to be made after 4pm which meant the High court was finished for the day meaning the prison authorities decision was final. This Machiavellian behaviour in itself is unjust and must be challenged.
“In May 2012, Political Hostage Martin Corey applied for compassionate parole only to be passed from pillar to post for two full days before a decision was made. Finally a decision to allow release for one and a half hours was given 15 minutes before the funeral was due to start for his brother who had died.
“His conditions where deplorable. He was only allowed to the funeral Mass, he arrived at 1pm and had to be back in Jail for 3pm, the jail being more than a half and hours drive, in total he was only allowed with his family to grief for a short period.
“The issue of compassionate parole is an emotive one. Republican prisoners have always honoured their word and the British state, at various times, have always denied leave as a form of punishment.
“We the Republican people must now take this issue to our hearts, we must campaign for better compassionate parole conditions for prisoners and for the refusal of compassionate parole to cease.
“Along with this we must continue in our fight to secure Political status for prisoners and demand that Political hostages Martin Corey and Marian Price are released immediately”, the statement concluded.
- [R . S . F news] Provo MLAs act as jailers (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- British Security Forces harass Scottish and English solidarity with Irish Republican Prisoners (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Statement from the POW Department Republican Sinn Féin 223 Parnell Street Dublin 1 00353-1-8729747 00353-87-9374277 (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Statement from the Family & Friends of Republican prisoners, Maghaberry. 19th May 2012 (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Free Marian Price ” Don’t Let Her Root in Prison ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)