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LIAM LYNCH/PATSY DUFFY CUMANN DERRY CITY

BEIR BUA
The honest voice of Republicanism
POW Issue MAY-JUNE 2010 Derry32csm@hotmail.com

Maghaberry Conditons Deteriorate


Throughout the Anglo-Irish conflict the British have regularly him under controlled movement as he walked along the landing.
resorted to inhumane treatment and barbaric attacks on Harry Fitzsimmons was subjected to a brutal assault as he was
Republican POWs in an attempt to criminalise them, break their dragged to the punishment block where he was handcuffed to a
resolve and as a consequence quell resistance to their colonial bed and was stripped of his clothing. The British prison
occupation of Ireland. The battle within the prison walls authorities have informed him that they intend him to spend the
between the POWs and the Brits has been a major one in the remainder of his sentence, a total of three years, in the isolation
pursuit of Irish freedom and one which stirs deep emotions in block. Those prisoners who had witnessed the savage beating of
the hearts of Republicans. The significance of events in prisons Harry proceeded to wreck their cells in protest at the abuse
like Kilmainham, Crumlin Road, Long Kesh and jails in Britain being meted out to their comrade. Since then, the prisoners have
like Brixton have a profound been denied the use of toilet
significance in the history of facilities resulting in them having to
Republicanism. urinate on the floor and defecate in
Presently, in Maghaberry prison the bags. When the screws come to the
British have intensified their efforts to cell with food, the POWs make an
break the spirit of Republican POWs by effort to get the bag containing the
abusing and mistreating prisoners in a waste out of the cell and onto the
manner which is becoming more brutal landing. However, it is tossed back
and violent by the day. The regime in in to the cell with the food. The
Maghaberry is naturally vindictive in its sanitation problems that these turn
very essence towards Republican POWs of events raises is obvious and is
and is dictated by the loyalist Prison already contributing to ill health
Officers Association and its bigoted amongst prisoners.
screws. The campaign of physical and
The basic necessities of human life such psychological warfare which the
as washing, eating and sleeping is being Brits have unleashed against
severely disrupted and all too often Republican prisoners knows no
being completely denied to Republican moral boundaries and they see the
prisoners. Food is served late, cold and families and visitors of the POWs as
a through a six inch gap in the cell door fair game. Whilst the RUC/PSNI
like animals being fed at a zoo. The food continue unabated in their normal
is being served and eating in the most business of harassing and
unhygienic conditions and there has also intimidating the families of
been instances were it has been tampered with causing the men Republicans, it is obvious that their colleagues in the prison force
to be violently ill. Some of the time the men have been refused are following their lead fervently. When loved ones and families
food altogether for lengthy periods of time. In a recent incident members book a visit it is far from certain that they will actually
the screws brought fresh drinking water to the cells of get one, and the instances of visits being refused is increasing.
Republican POWs but then proceeded to pour it all over beds, The whole experience of visitors at the jail is made as unpleasant
saturating the mattresses and denying the men sleep. Prisoners as possible for the families of Republicans. Families have to
have also seen their clothes confiscated and had the remaining present them, including young children, in front of a dog which
clothes also soaked with water. Also electrical appliances and sniffs around the visitors to detect illegal drugs. This is a
sockets were doused with water in anticipation of Republican deliberate insult to Republicans whose opposition to drugs and
POWs using them. This is being viewed as an obvious attempt to activism against the drugs problem is well documented and as
cause the electrocution of prisoners. Also prisoners are being successful as anyones in the community at present. A partner of
refused access to warm water needed for washing and shaving. a Republican prisoner has informed the 32 csm that her
Strip searching is a daily reality for POWs. forthcoming visit has been cancelled as a punishment after his
In recent weeks two prisoners have been badly beaten by the being involved in a protest over conditions.
screws, Turlough Mc Allister from Armagh and Harry
Fitzsimmons from Belfast. Turlough Mc Allister was viciously Continued overleaf
set upon for no apparent reason by a gang of screws who had
The situation in Maghaberry is terrible. The men are being desparate in their efforts to break the spirits of our men behind
tortured mentally and physically and when we are lucky enough the wire. Attempts to criminalise Republican prisoners will fail,
to get a visit it is obvious from their appearance that their health because everyone (especially the British) knows that they are not
is being damaged by the conditions. It takes a whole day to criminals. Recently we have seen pompous fools like David Ford
prepare and travel for a visit, the worry of having somebody rowing in behind his British masters blaming the prisoners for
living in these conditions is bad enough but it is all the more the conditions in Maghaberry. There is a sustained campaign by
compounded when you are not allowed to visit them. The the Brits to try and isolate the prisoners not only from their
disappointment of going through all the searches and the sniffer families but also the wider community from where they come.
dog and then getting turned away at the door of the visiting Republican ex-prisoners and the families of ex-POWs have a
centre is particularly telling on children.” she told the 32 csm. duty to back the prisoners in Maghaberry in their demands for
By all accounts the morale of the Republican prisoners is high conditions befitting political prisoners. Whether it is to attend
despite all that is ranged against them. Reports from the jail pickets in their support, help out in poster or leaflet campaigns
show that they remained focussed on what they have to resist or help in anyway they must support the POWs. The POWs are
and that their resilience is having an effect on their enemies. This the ones who live every second of their lives at the mercy of
would account for the higher degrees of violence and brutality British forces. We on the outside who believe that they
that the British prison authorities are sanctioning against the shouldn’t be treated like criminals must do all we can on their
prisoners in Maghaberry as they are becoming increasingly behalf.

Some of the Prison officers who are at the forefront of


this brutality and criminalisation process are;
David Kennedy Marion Johnson
James Mc Farland Alan Craig
her
Jean Andrews
ed
And
Senior officer Anthony Laverick

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