Below you can find the full list of current POWs being looked after by the IRPWA. Please keep them in mind when sending Christmas Cards!
E3 & E4, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois
Eddie Mc Grath
North Inner City
N Circular Rd, Inns Quay, Dublin, Ireland
Roe 4, Maghaberry Prison, Old Road Ballinderry Upper, Lisburn BT28 2PT
Luke O’ Neill
Barry Petticrew (Held on a non – political wing)
October 24th 2019
The Saoradh POW Department were contacted this week by Republican Prisoners regarding further practices of harassment by Loyalist screws in Maghaberry.
In recent weeks a number of craft items made by prisoners including canvases of Bobby Sands, Brendan Hughes, Mairead Farrell and Che Guevara have been prohibited from leaving the gaol.
In a further escalation, unit manager, Tim Elliot, has banned all craft featuring the 1916 Irish Proclamation. Elliot has described the Proclamation as “openly displaying support for terrorism”
Once again as it slowly approaches November, those intent on causing further issues on Republican Roe 4 will don their Poppy’s in a bid to stoke tensions despite cries of Maghaberry being a “neutral environment”.
The irony of this so-called “neutral environment” is something not lost on the families and visitors of Republican Prisoners; they have suffered and witnessed most the behaviour of screws sporting UDR badges and Poppy’s on their uniforms.
We wish to extend our full support and solidarity to Republican Prisoners at this difficult time.
September 29th 2019
The Saoradh POW Department was contacted by prisoners today regarding the serious negligence and abuse faced in recent days by Republican Prisoner Luke O’Neill. Luke injured his arm whilst exercising several days ago. Despite being in agony his injury went unattended for two days until he was permitted to see the prison doctor. It was a further day before he received an x-ray which confirmed that his arm is seriously broken.
Luke was given an appointment to be taken to outside hospital. He was subsequently taken from the wing to reception. A notorious security governor then ordered that he be forcibly-strip searched. Luke explained that his arm was seriously broken; despite this they proceeded to physically accost him, forcing him to the ground and stripping off his clothing. They pushed his arm up his back, and ripped his t-shirt off over it also.
Luke was then handcuffed and transported in the back of a van with a screw. The screws remained in the room throughout his consultation, violating doctor-patient confidentiality. This practice does not even occur in Guantanamo. The doctor immediately noted that the nature of the injury had changed and worsened as a result of the forced strip-search. Luke was returned to the gaol still in handcuffs, with a plaster on his arm. Not content with having damaged his arm further, and having had him subjected to the most stringent and draconian measures during his visit, the same governor ordered another forced-strip search. Even with his arm in a bandage, Luke was again forced to the ground, subjected to pressure point locks and had his clothes stripped from him by a riot squad gang.
The Saoradh POW Department would like to extend our solidarity to Luke. This is the prison environment born out of the Good Friday Agreement in which political prisoners find themselves. This has been done with the active involvement of former Republicans, those who believe themselves to be the inheritors of the civil rights movement and a 26-county state which is determined now to extradite Republicans into the hands of these beasts. Shame on them.
September 21st 2019
Statement from Kevin Hannaway, Portlaoise Gaol
Yesterday’s decision that a criminal investigation should proceed into the torture of the hooded men is not just important for the 14 men involved in the case, but for everyone who has had the misfortune of being detained by the British. For centuries Britain has occupied this land and others through murder fear and torture. The story of the hooded men is just one of the many frightening stories. The 14 of us who were taken away and physically and psychologically tortured, just like so many others at the hands of the British crown forces, returned different men. What we endured back then didn’t just last the length of a time of the interrogation, it lasted a lifetime and beyond.
However, as welcome as yesterday’s decision was, my thoughts go straight to the men who never got to live long enough to see this decision. It’s both saddening and sickening in equal measure that it has taken almost 50 years to see progress finally being made in this regard. To the families of those who have passed, all of whom I have gotten to know personally, I hope yesterday’s decision brings you some small comfort, vindicating your loved ones fight for justice.
On a personal note, I’d like to thank Jim Mcllmuarry who has been the driving force behind our campaign from the very start. Without Jim, this would never have got off the ground. Jim has worked tirelessly on our behalf and has vowed to continue to do so until we get the justice we deserve.
While yesterday’s decision is another step in the right direction, there must be a full independent enquiry held. This must be free from British interference. Britain never has and never will be an honest broker in its dealings with Ireland or its people.
Today, almost 50 years after being tortured at the hands of the British, I sit in my Portlaoise Gaol cell, convicted in a Special Court with no jury and no evidence produced against me. Britain’s hold on Ireland is as obvious as ever.
August 13th 2019
This month marks the 9th anniversary of the signing of the August 2010 Agreement in Maghaberry prison. The Agreement was set to pave the way for a conflict-free environment on the Republican wing by alleviating the core issues of conflict. The agreement was signed on the 12th of August 2010 after prisoners had been engaged in protest action which had been initiated at Easter of that year.
Forced strip-searching and controlled movement were set to be ended and phased out. It was clear, however, that a significant cabal within the six-county prison service opposed the agreement. These are the same screws and their ilk who were involved in opposing the very establishment of the wing in 2003/2004. Any sign of ‘progress’ or any policies or measures which could make the lives of Republican prisoners more bearable are opposed by these right-wing fundamentalists. They immediately set about sabotaging the agreement, refusing to end controlled movement and reintroducing strip-searching after a short period.
Those within the six-county administration and within the six-county prison service who had stood over the Agreement quickly began making excuses for their failure to implement it–they could not concede that a cabal within their midst allied with British intelligence and unionist political and media elements was pulling the strings. They attempted to blame prisoners, although no one bought this, and prisoners themselves disproved any such claims with sound arguments and facts.
After the Agreement was completely reneged on, Republican prisoners re-initiated protest action in May 2011. This lasted with prisoners living in horrible conditions until November 2012, when prisoners called an end to the protest to create the space for a dialectical process of engagement. In the meantime, the Brits had introduced a policy of isolation in mid-2011, another tool for the psychological torment of prisoners. The fallacy of this policy is evident in the fact that those who were once allegedly ‘under threat’ are now on the wing after having been released and then re-imprisoned.
This process was shunned by the six-county prison service, and further processes, involving the Prisoner Ombudsman in 2014 and the ICRC in 2015, were deliberately sabotaged by the gaol admin and their DUP allies in Stormont. Prisoners today live still dealing with controlled movement and forced strip-searching; the harassment spans across every aspect of prisoners’ lives, including families, education and healthcare. Maghaberry remains a dark pit of repression and psychological torment.
The Saoradh POW department would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our support for the core tenets of August 2010 Agreement as offering the basis for a resolution to the current system being forced on prisoners. We know well that the cabal within the six-county prison service and its imperialist and reactionary allies are determined to prevent this from happening, but we defy them in the certainty that their efforts will ultimately be in vain.
They would be foolish to use time as a measure of stability for their system of oppression.
In the words of one anti-zionist Palestinian fighter:
‘The world is in a hurry. We are not in a hurry’.
Saoradh POW Department
July 1st 2019
The Saoradh POW department recently highlighted a spike in intimidation of Republican Prisoners by the Maghaberry administration. This was again evidenced yesterday, Sunday June 30, when we were contacted and informed that the wife of Republican prisoner Darren Poleon, was prevented from visiting her husband by bigoted screws.
On a previous occasion Darren’s wife was stopped for wearing a small broach which has the colours of the national flag on it. On that occasion a screw stopped her, but an SO (Senior Officer) was called and said there was no issue. On this occasion it was the same screw who stopped her, telling her again that she could not have her visit due to the broach. It had clearly been orchestrated, as on this occasion a different SO was called, and he stated too that she could not proceed.
These are not isolated incidents. They are the regular intimidation and harassment faced by families when visiting Maghaberry, where the administration takes great pleasure in making visits as complicated and difficult as possible. Recently visits, in particular, have been used to wage an intensified campaign of oppression against prisoners.
Not content with their complete dissertion from the principles of the August 2010 Agreement, the prison administration clearly wishes to turn the screw on prisoners at every opportunity.