éirígí in Newry have expressed their deep disappointment and anger at the decision by the British prison service to decline a request by Newry & Mourne District Council to send a delegation to visit republican prisoners currently on protest.
In July the council unanimously agreed to send a delegation to Maghaberry to investigate the prisoners’ concerns, the instigator of the successful motion was Independent republican Councillor Davy Hyland who has expressed his disappointment at the decision.
Davy said, “It’s disgraceful that the NIPS, under the auspices of the so-called ‘Justice’ minister, have refused the councils request with no reason being given. It would have been an important opportunity for councillors and council officials to hear at first hand what republican prisoners have to endure. I will continue to highlight the situation in Maghaberry and promise to do everything in my power to make people aware of the human rights abuses being carried out against republican prisoners in the gaol on a daily basis.”
His sentiments were echoed by éirígí’s Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney.
“When it was first announced that Davy’s motion was passed we, and the families of the prisoners, were jubilant, and were of the opinion that this would bring more attention to the issue as well as more pressure on British minister Ford. However it soon became clear that David Fords office were dragging their heels on the issue and didn’t want the council delegation to go to Maghaberry.
“The British prison service didn’t even give a reason for refusing the councils request. I would personally like to commend Councillor Davy Hyland and also former Councillor Martin Connolly who both raised the issue in the chamber. If it wasn’t for them it would most likely have never been mentioned in the council chamber.”
Stephen concluded, “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.”