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Provos Snub Maghaberry POWs

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Monday August 14, 2006 16:12author by Seán Ó Murchú - Republican Sinn Féin - Cork Report this post to the editors


The organizers of the Hunger Strike Commemoration at Casement Park on Sunday August 14th snubbed the prisoners currently in Maghaberry Gaol and their families.

RPAG had approached the organizing committee earlier this week with a statement setting out the conditions of Republican prisoners in Maghaberry. The organizers confirmed this morning that the statement could be read, but refused to let the mother of the prisoner read it herself. Despite the promises when it came to the event this afternoon no statement was read out.

RPAG is therefore asking the media to publish the statement.

Geraldine Taylor of Republican Sinn Fein said:

“The prisoners and the families are outraged at how they have been treated. The families have shown solidarity with the families of the Hunger Strikers and believe that they have much in common. However the sacrifice of today’s prisoners’ and their families has been virtually ignored by those organizing this event.”

For further details please contact 028 90319004 or 07921973328


On 13th July 1981 a young boy 8 years of age was hoisted onto his uncle’s shoulders. He was given a hammer and a black flag. The young boy then hung the flag on the side of the coal-shed.

Around him he saw grown men openly crying, women talking and going from door to door. The people looked tired, sorrowful and a gloominess hung in the air like a thick dense fog. The answers to the boy’s questions didn’t really register. “A young man from the locality had died on hunger strike”, he was told. He had seen old people die before and there were no black flags. “Why now?”, he wondered. Little did he realise then, that was the beginning of his introduction to Irish politics and Irish history.

Some years later in his teenage years, the young man began reading books on Irish history and came to realise the significance and the symbolism of the black flag which he had hung years before. He read about the struggle for political status in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh, the blanket protest, the no-wash protest and eventually the Hunger Strike which culminated in the deaths of 10 young volunteers. He couldn’t believe the intransigence of the British as they allowed these young men died.

Now as a grown man he continues reading and believes strongly in the Republican ideology which was held dearly by those who died to achieve humane conditions for hundreds of Republican prisoners. Are conditions today better because of the sacrifices of these men?

The young lad who 25 years ago raised a black flag to his coal-shed now lies in a British prison camp. He too suffers the same degrading treatment. He and his comrades suffer strip searches designed to humiliate and degrade as well as 23 hour lock ups in an 8 x 12 tomb. They suffer sectarian abuse from loyalist staff working the landings. They are forced to eat all their meals in their cells like caged animals. They are denied any association with each other on the landing and are only permitted to leave their cells in 2s or 3s, accompanied by at least twice the number of prison officers. Families are denied visits for weeks at a time due to the suspicious reaction of the prison “drugs dog” despite the fact there has not been a single find of drugs on a Republican prisoner or visitor.

Rights that are granted to the rest of the prison population are denied to Republican prisoners; education, exercise, social inter-action – basic human rights. They are threatened with the loss of remission, or of being transported to England if they do not conform. But they will not conform to a regime that denies them the right to be treated with dignity and humanity. They cannot conform with institutional discrimination brought about to criminalise the Irish struggle.

That same young man and his comrades are now on protest in Maghaberry “concentration camp”. This is a protest against criminalisation, a protest for Political Status. They too have issued 5 demands. Freedom of Association, Freedom of Movement, Full Time education, Separate Visiting Facility and the right to Organise their wings. They remain adamant in the belief that theirs is a just struggle. They are prepared to do whatever is necessary to achieve their objectives.

They are not, as the prison authorities are trying to portray, asking for the keys to their wing. They do not expect control of the landings. Their demands have been reasonable, but have been ignored.

In their protest they have been refusing to eat in their cells and are refusing to co-operate with the discriminatory regime imposed upon them. They are showing great restraint in the face of constant provocation. Both the Church and human rights groups have pledged their assistance, but all calls for humanity have been ignored. The prisoners, who have yet again been backed into a corner, feel that their only weapon is to fast. There has been a series of 24 hour fasts and this week a 48 hour fast but there is still no recognition from the authorities.

That young man now experiences the intransigence for himself and asks you the people of Ireland to support the prisoners and their demands, to do all in your power to challenge this injustice, to write letters of support to your politicians, to the press and to the authorities, to show your numbers on the streets in the protests and in the pickets that are being organised across the country.

Go raibh maith agaibh

OC Republican Prisoners Maghaberry Gaol

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author by Pete Brickettepublication date Mon Aug 14, 2006 18:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was present at the event and I thought that I heard Adams cough up some kind of support for the Maghaberry Prisoners. Is the pressure getting to him?

author by Disgusted ex provopublication date Mon Aug 14, 2006 20:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You would have had more chance of getting the SDLP to raise the issue of the Prisoners as $inn Feign seem to have been overwhelmed with their hypocrisy since taking their mandate.

author by Harry Whitepublication date Mon Aug 14, 2006 20:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

agreed. The provos do not want the plight of the prisoners acknowledged. Their rally yesterday was reminiescent of fianna fail circa 1923. All pagentry no substance! They are not Republican. They are part and parcel of the partitionist system.

Support the prisoners. Support authentic Republicanism.

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author by Philpublication date Mon Aug 14, 2006 21:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Harry while agreeing that your prisoners are as entitled to Political Status as were the prisoners of 1981 how do you expect us to believe that the planting of incendiary devices in Nationalist/ Republican areas putting your own people out of work will remove the Brits when Suicide bombers in London don't seem to have made any impact.

Perhaps if you concentrated in helping your own people where they most need you then you might be able to kick the feet from under the Provos and their benefactors in Downing Street.

author by John Deaseypublication date Mon Aug 14, 2006 22:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Republicans will gather in Bundoran on August 26 at 3pm to remember their comrades with honour and dignity. It will be a sincere commemoration, not an electioneering stunt . Come show your support for the Republican prisoners of yesterday and today. Show you remember the hungerstrikers. Show you still care. Show you will stand by Republicanism. Be there!

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author by Philpublication date Tue Aug 15, 2006 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems as if like the Provos that the Dissident Republicans avoid answering awkward questions. I asked what do they expect to achieve by blowing up Businesses in Nationalist areas and putting their own people out of work when suicide bombers in London don't seem capable of moving the Brits?
It's a simple question could we have an answer?

I'm sorry but the present day IRA Real or whatever fails to inspire those of us who knew Real Volunteers in the past, like Frank Hughes and others who were genuine and wouldn't have dreamed of wasting time with Mickey mouse jobs.

I accept that these men and women were ultimately betrayed by careerist Republicans but it seems that today's Republicans are wasting their lives in prison while their leadership looking more and more amateurish.

author by Big Macpublication date Tue Aug 15, 2006 19:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree that RSF have no answer for their amateur campaign of blowing up easy targets. While the prisoners of 81 lived in the hope that their comrades on the outside could achieve freedom the prisoners of today must surely be living in cloud cuckoo land if they believe that their comrades can achieve anything by blowing up B and Qs.

Don't expect any answers because like the present SF they can't answer them.

author by Seanpublication date Tue Aug 15, 2006 20:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why would RSF answer (or have to) for the actions of the so-called RIRA? Put those questions to the 32CSC.

author by Big Macpublication date Tue Aug 15, 2006 20:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sean these questions are directed at those who carry on a fruitless war while their prisoners rot in jail.
OK what does RSF hope to achieve and how do they intend achieve it?

Those of us of a recent generation languished in jail and saw our comrades die for what ultimately turned out to be the acceptance of a 6 county State. I for one don't see any mini versions of the IRA achieving anything other than gaps in town centres and deaths of innocent people. Young people will spend the best years of their lives in jail and nothing will change except the Politicians.

author by Seanpublication date Tue Aug 15, 2006 21:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You actually wrote "RSF have no answer for their amateur campaign of blowing up easy targets". RSF is a political organisation, not a military one. It engages solely in political activity. For an "ex-prisoner " you're very quick to ape red-top style journalism. For an ex-prisoner to write/say such a thing shows their is either an agenda at work (smear and lie) or you were never a prisoner at all. Why start your criticism with falsehoods?

author by Big Macpublication date Tue Aug 15, 2006 22:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sean I was an Ex Prisoner whether you chose to believe me or not. I have no hidden agenda, perhaps I have become confused by all the Micro-Republican groups. Perhaps I have become disillusioned by the complete waste of life and years spent in prison for a leadership to take us in a direction which we would have been shot for even suggesting in those far off years. Perhaps I find it hard to believe that so many intelligent people continue to believe in lies.

I am pissed off but tell me this, What do you hope to achieve and how do you hope to achieve it when SF has stolen all the support with lies?

author by Seanpublication date Tue Aug 15, 2006 22:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Republican Movement has see far more depressing days than these. Those that know and understand its history know that. What do you think the 40s looked like? Was the RM a "micro group " then? (one cant fail to notice your use of red top jounalist/provo speak yet again) They were more on the side lines than today, but dedicated people carried on nontheless, insuring that the movement and the cause carried on. The were brave and did not allow themselves to be sidetracked or demoralised by those who were idealogically weak. They had their begrudgers and nay sayers than too. People who even called themselves Republican! much like today, eh? People like you have always been around. There are men, women and young people today who like those of the 40s and other lowpoints in our history who will stand by Republicanism. just because you find the road too harsh, dsapointed by setbacks (we all have but we will not all turn our backs and give up) and are put off by its unpopularity, doesnt mean there are others - however few - who have the temerity and dedication to continue to do the right thing and maintain authentic Irish Republicanism.

author by Seanpublication date Tue Aug 15, 2006 22:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I also want to say that those years you spent in prison were not wasted, they were done for the betterment of our people and in the name of freedom. That was no waste of time. Do not allow yourself to put down what you and others did - and what other continue to do- because of the sell out and betrayals of others.

author by Big Macpublication date Tue Aug 15, 2006 22:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sean you still haven't answered my question. What do you hope to achieve and how will you achieve it? A 32 County Socialist Republic? A United Ireland? WHAT?

author by Pierpointpublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 12:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Cannot help but laugh anytime I pass Fairview Park.
In the Arab countries they behead when they are alive. In Ireland we do it after they are dead 50 years.

author by RPAG - Republican Prisoners Action Grouppublication date Wed Aug 16, 2006 18:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

White line picket for political status will be held on Saturday, the 19th of August in Lurgan, County Armagh. Assemble in North Street, 2pm.

A picket for in support of the prisoners in Maghaberry Prison who are currently fighting for political status will be held at the GPO, Dublin on Saturday, September 2nd. 12:45.

Republican Prisoners Action Group

author by casement fanpublication date Fri Aug 18, 2006 13:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hardly expect Adams etc to support their political enemies even if these prisoners were on the right side of history. Why would PSF lend oxygen to their competitors? maybe if some of these lads start dying on hunger strike it would complicate the story for Adams but while they are an irrelevant footnote to the neverending process of pretending to dismantle the northern state they can hardly expect solidarity from their ex pals who are busy waiting for stormont.

Actually though this circus of reclaiming the hunger strikers is becoming very tedious. I cant imagine those guys would be jumping up and down about the triumph of SF over the SDLP. I reckon they thought they killed and died for something more than a marginal improvement in electoral returns. SF seem to protest too much their love and admiration for the hunger strikers. The quicker they leave all that behind the better. And highjacking Casement Park for one of their death cult ceremonies was appalling. Can you imagine if FF moved into Croker for some party political sing song, or the PDs for that matter. Did they say the rosary?

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