The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Prisoners Families Physically Removed from Maghaberry Visit

J. Sean Burns, IRPWA • 18 April 2004

This morning in Maghaberry Gaol (Sunday 18th April) the mother of Republican prisoner John Connolly along with the three sisters of another Republican Conor Casey were treated in a degrading and humiliating manner after complaining about the use of the so-called 'sniffer dog'. It is worth noting here that no Republican prisoner, nor those visiting them have ever been found with drugs in their possession.

Mrs Connolly, a woman with ill health, had been refused a visit with her son whom she hadn't seen in a number of months when the dog sat down at her feet whilst going through processing. When Conor Casey's sisters objected to this they too were also physically removed from the visiting area.

The prison officers on duty were both happy to ignore the fact that Mrs Connolly had made over a 200 mile round trip to the jail and also to dismiss her cries to "please just let me see my son". Something which severely upset John Connolly who could only witness this commotion through the visiting room door.

It must be obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense what is happening here in Maghaberry Gaol. The last time anyone was stopped in such circumstances was back in 2003 when the issue was consistently raised with the NIO and prison administration. This sudden reversal just happens to coincide with a Loyalist protest, an increase in harassment against Republican prisoners by screws, and not to mention the very recent allegations of 'malpractice' against prison staff. It is clear that the prison officers in Maghaberry are coming under considerable pressure and in doing so they revert back to the old tactic of taking out their frustrations on others - namely Republican prisoners and their loved ones.

The IRPWA calls on the prison administration to put a halt to this nonsense immediately. By directing such resentment against those in a vulnerable situation the prison officers involved are showing themselves to be nothing more than fascist bully-boys. Those in charge of Maghaberry Gaol have shown this institution to be a squalid and iniquitous little place staffed by ethically questionable individuals.

No doubt we will have to listen very shortly to the painful apologist Mr. Finley Spratt of the POA spouting off about professionalism and integrity, whilst turning a blind eye to the fact that this weekends 'revelations' have left everyone open mouthed with incredulity and unlikely to believe anything he says.













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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

19 April 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


The Laughter of Our Children
Anthony McIntyre


Prisoners Families Physically Removed from Maghaberry Visit
J. Sean Burns, IRPWA


Profile of a Glove
Kathleen O'Halloran


Irish Americans
Gerry O'Hare


The Globe and the Village

Lila Rajival


16 April 2004


Two Codes of Ignoble Submission
Kathleen O'Halloran


32CSM Easter Oration, Derry
Marian Price


Threat to Dissident...?
J. Doherty


Another Recruit
Brian Mór


R = PB -C
Eoghan O’Suilleabhain


The Public, Private and Academic Partnership:
Towards a New Paradigm of Public Protection

Terry O'Neill


Anthony McIntyre


"Colombia-US Free Trade Treaty - far more than trade"
Emilio Sardi (with reflections by Toni Solo)




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