The following statement was issued by the Continuity Sinn Féin POW Department
Support Our Republican Prisoners
The Continuity Sinn Féin POW Department calls on the people of Ireland to support the Republican POW’s who are locked in a struggle to have political status as a right restored. The notorious Limerick prison where Republican POW Rose Lynch is serving a life sentence along with charges of firearms, ammunition and IRA membership is not fit for purpose, she is living in disgraceful conditions and forced to live amongst the female criminal population. She is a dedicated and committed Republican and regardless of these poor conditions she is continuing to do her best to study hard and work to attain her degree in psychology. As a Republican she is indeed an inspiration to us all!
The Republican POW’s in Portlaoise prison face daily attempts by the prison administration to remove their hard fought for conditions, and in the Six Occupied Counties, Republicans who refuse to accept British rule in Ireland are rounded up and thrown into Maghaberry prison where they are refused bail and held on remand for years without trial.
The British tactic of internment of Irish citizens is alive and well!
One such dispicable case is that of veteran Republican Seán O’Neill (76) from Limerick. Seán was arrested at an alleged meeting of the Continuity IRA at a house in Newry last year by the PSNI’s heavily armed Special Operations Unit. Listening devices had been placed within the house by the secret British security service MI5. Ten men are now facing political charges in relation to this raid. Seán O’Neill has recently been diagnosed with bowel cancer in Maghaberry prison and is recieving chaemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, but still his requests for bail to be amongst his family at this most difficult time have been repeatedly refused. Lets not forget, Seán is only on remand and not sentanced yet!
It would appear that in the Occupied Six Counties, loyalists, drug dealers and sex offenders are treated better than Irish Republicans
We call on the people of Ireland to show the POW’s that they care for their plight and will not stand by while the prisoners and their families suffer at the hands of those who are holding our country by force. We call on you to demand as a right the return of political status, which was lost in the signing of the Stormont Agreement of 1998. We also urge you to redouble your efforts in supporting the monthly Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund draw, where handmade POW craft and cash prizes are won each month. The IRPDF are currently supporting fourteen Republican POW’s throughout Ireland. All money raised from this monthly draw go direcly to the POW’s and their dependants and is very much appreciated.
We all remember only too well the sacrafice that was made in and outside the prisons to win political status: Will you stand by and let it happen again?
Let your voice be heard and show the POW’s they are not alone in the struggle for political status.
Continuity Sinn Féin POW Department
Statement from Republican Prisoners Maghaberry prison occupied Ireland
Political Status for Republican Prisoners
Nineteen eighty-one, along with other dates in Ireland’s troubled history was a terribly sad time. We witnessed ten of our comrades die for their right to political status. They, like us Republican prisoners incarcerated in Maghaberry here today, were branded as mere criminals by the British, whereas our only crime is the love of our country. They also exposed to the world what British justice was really like. It is sad to see that history is again repeating itself, only now the British are being assisted by former Republicans, containing the dissident movement of Adams, McGuinness and co.
This is an insult to what these ten brave Republican soldiers died for. The Provisional Partitionist Party have assisted in securing the abolition of political prisoners rights which proved to be a hidden part of the Stormont Agreement. How can the dissident Provisional Movement call themselves Republicans while they are now part of the British colonial system, on the British payroll and strong supporters for British oppression.
Our comrade Rose Lynch is also suffering deplorable conditions in the women’s wing in Limerick prison where she is being criminalised by been forced to serve her time amongst the female criminal prison population. Recently she has been refused access to a visit via video link to her father Joe Lynch who himself is a Republican POW in Maghaberry prison here in the six Counties.
Just because we dont accept the sell-out Agreement we face this harassment.
We as Republican POW’s ask you to support us. We have been true Republicans. All Republican prisoners MUST be granted political status or sadly we could see history repeat itself again due to British ignorance and interference.
In Maghaberry prison today, 34 years after the historic hunger strike that saw ten of our comrades suffer an agonisingly painful and slow death in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh because they refused to let England criminalise them or our freedom struggle, Republican POW’s once again find themselves in a renewed struggle to have political status as a right restored.
Political status is a right, not a privilege.
In our own case, we the ten Republican political prisoners who were arrested in a house in Newry late last year, are now facing a British policy of enforced integration of Republican prisoners which is being orchestrated and controlled by MI5, who it is well known within Republican circles control the day to day running of Maghaberry prison. The Maghaberry prison administration are now saying that we are a threat to other prisoners in Roe House, nothing could be further from the truth and we see this as just a further attemp to isolate us from the other Republican prisoners held in Roe House.
This is nothing new as Republican prisoner Gavin Coyle has been held in isolation in the punishment area known as the CSU for over four years (even though he has done nothing to be punished for) where MI5 have tried to recruit him as an informer on numerous occasions. Our comrade Liam Mulhern RIP was also held in isolation in the CSU and he unfortunately collapsed and died in his cell in suspicious circumstances last year. The family are now launching an enquiry into Liams death and taking a case of medical negligence against the Maghaberry administration. We call on all Republicans to condemn these actions by MI5 who’s sole aim is to cause dissension and confusion amongst the Republican prisoners held within Maghaberry prison, and in turn the wider Republican community on the outside.
It serves no ones interests but the British to isolate Republicans from each other.
At present, we are forced to share a landing in Bann House with loyalists, drug dealers and sex offenders. It is only a matter of time before one of us is attacked and seriously injured or worse by loyalists, and those who disagree with our Republican beliefs. This is in stark contrast to the British backed Steele report of 2003, which recommended the reintroduction of segregation in order to protect the health and safety of Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison. The Steele report concluded that Republican prisoners should be housed in Roe House and loyalist prisoners in Bush House. We call for Roe 1 and Roe 2 to be cleared of criminal prisoners and to allow all Republican prisoners to be housed in Roe House as the Steele report recommended back in ‘03.
We are currently locked up in our prison cells for 22 hours a day, denied access to any form of education whatsoever, denied access to the prison work shop and also not allowed to attend mass. Despite all this our morale remains as high as ever. Our Republican comrades over in Roe House have extended the hand of comradeship by making it quite clear they have no objections whatsoever to us being transferred as soon as possible.
Any attempt to criminalise Republican prisoners will be resisted both inside and outside the prisons. In the words of a well-known song, “ I will wear no convict’s uniform, nor meekly serve my time, that England might brand Ireland’s fight eight-hundred years of crime.”