Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Support Growing for Political Prisoners

Despite attempts by the political establishment and the corporate media to bury the issue, the plight of the political prisoners in Maghaberry jail is again raising concern on the outside.

Since the end of last year, the unionist thugs in the Prison Officers Association have been successfully attempting to undermine the agreement reached on August 12 2010 that appeared to bring to a successful conclusion the long running struggle for humane treatment in Maghaberry.

Unfortunately, the situation has since deteriorated to the extent where republican prisoners are now back on a no wash protest, while beatings and forced strip searches are again a daily occurrence.

On Sunday [June 5], around 400 people gathered in the Maghaberry car park for the short march to the prison’s perimeter, where they were addressed by a number of prisoners’ relatives as well as independent republican councillor for Newry Davy Hyland.

After folk singer Pól MacAdaim helped the assembled crowd belt out a number of songs by Bobby Sands for the benefit of the screws, the supporters marched towards the wing where the republican prisoners are currently being held.

There, despite the lashing rain and the yards upon yards of barbed wire and concrete, the prisoners could be heard shouting their appreciation while the protestors blew whistles, let off fireworks, beat pots and chanted slogans for political status.

The protest was ended with a cavalcade of nearly 100 cars encircling the prison entrance with horns beeping and music blaring.

Meanwhile, last night [Monday], in a further demonstration of the growing support for the human rights of the prisoners, Newry & Mourne Council unanimously agreed to send a delegation to Maghaberry to investigate the prisoners’ concerns. The instigator of the motion, Davy Hyland, pledged to make the council follow through on its promise as soon as possible.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith, himself a former political prisoner, said: “The last number of days have seen a welcome spike in the support for the rights of the prisoners in Maghaberry.

“The agenda in Maghaberry is currently being set by the notoriously sectarian and thuggish Prison Officers Association. This situation is totally unsustainable.

“The British government needs to recognise that the August 12 agreement of last year presents the basis for resolving the conflict in the prison and face down the POA.”

Mac Cionnaith added: “éirígí extends its solidarity to the protesting prisoners in Maghaberry and pledges to continue supporting their struggle and that of their families until political status is secured. All those with an interest in human rights should do likewise.”

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