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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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