week in the Gaol saw a lock-down from Sunday 4pm to
Thursday 9am, all because the screws on Roe 2 landing
decided that a tub of Flora looked very suspicious.
So the Bomb Squad was called in to examine the offending
object. Finally the all clear was given
and you would think that would be that. Not on your
nelly, the Security team decided to take this opportunity
or excuse to keep the four landings in Roe House on
lock-down so they could search the whole area and
every one in it.
attention was given to Republican prisoners as always.
Some were deprived of drinking water for two days.
As we were confined to our cells, meals were given
to us at the cell door. Some of the food was quite
clearly tampered with - I will spare you a full description
of the foreign objects - suffice to say they were
not of an appetising nature. Other prisoners were
refused access to the Doctor or Solicitor.
access to the phones was given so we could not inform
our families not to make the journey to the Gaol as
the visits were cancelled too. To add insult to injury
when the visits returned to normal on Thursday some
prisoners were offered boxed visits. All
refused. As I have explained in previous letters,
Republican Prisoners refuse boxed visits
outright as they are associated with drugs and are
used by Prison management as a tool of harassment
against us and our families.
a finale to the escapade, several Republicans were
moved to different wings and houses. The security
teams way of saying we can do what we like with
you, without explanation of reason- a law unto
themselves, you might say. Sound familiar?
I have been asked to pass on a go raibh maith
agat to IRPWA for all their hard work in support
of Republican Prisoners. I would like to add my own
voice to that sentiment. The work they do is invaluable
and I would urge all to lend them any support or help
they can. Buiochas!
Chairde, A Chomradaithe,
so-called big guns were in town during the week or
as one comrade put it one wolf in sheeps
clothing and a lot of lap-dogs. And sure
enough all the local politicians cap in hand
to tip their hats to the big chief. Sure some of them
had concerns about a war conference taking place at
the same time as supposed peace negotiations for here.
It was said, that they made their protests known.
I can just picture Gerry Adams and Mark Durcan giving
off to Bush, he must have been shaking in his boots.
the Sinn Fein leadership were negotiating for another
few crumbs from Blairs table, a Republican POW
was being violently assaulted in Maghaberry Gaol.
The prisoner, Brendan OConnor, who hails from
Tyrone, was trying to pass an Irish News to a comrade
when the screws lit on him and kicked and punched
him. One screw in particular, was to the forefront
of the attack. He is originally from England and is
well connected to loyalists. He has, on several occasions
been drunk on the wing, taking great pleasure in insulting
both Nationalists and Republicans with his sectarian
remarks. Of course, many complaints were made to the
Governor about him but as usual they were just ignored.
And he continues to try and recruit young Nationalists
to gain information on Republicans.
young Republican was then further assaulted by the
riot squad when they arrived to take him to the Boards.
Recently the screws have upped the ante; with petty
and trumped up charges being brought against Republicans
in an attempt to beak out determination and resolve.
Letters are being stopped, delayed or lost.
Association time had been drastically cut - some days
prisoners only get out for an hour and a half. Strip
searches are being carried out more often and rigorously.
Legal papers are being stolen out of the cell when
prisoners are out for a visit. The complaint system
is a shambles, some complaints are ignored or security
reasons cited when it seems you might win an issue
a new telephone system has come into operation in
the Gaol. Republican POWs have refused to operate
the system on the grounds that it breaches several
European laws on Human Rights and that it is nothing
more than an intelligence gathering operation for
the Branch and M15. The old system operated on a phone
card basis and a prisoner could ring any relative
or friend without giving prior notice. Now the system
has been changed a prisoner gets a PIN number and
has to give a prior list of telephone numbers of who
he wishes to ring. This prior notice of numbers gives
the Gaol the information they need to target specific
prisoners for recording of phone calls. The records
of calls are stored even if you are released. Legal
calls can be listened to and recorded as well which
is a clear breach of client - solicitors privilege.
we cannot call relatives this creates an added burden
on our families and loved ones- one they could do
without especially at times of illness. But it only
goes to show the depths to which the Prison will go
to curtail contact with the outside world.
A Chairde, A Chomradaithe,
man has the right to fix the boundary of the march
of a nation - famous words of Padraig H. Pearse
were both prophetic and to serve as a warning for
future Republicans to accept nothing less than full
nationhood. Pearse knew the dangers of partition or
setting boundaries. Even though he was executed in
1916, he could hear the rumblings of the Pro-Unionists
from the early 1900s and knew that the British
Government would try to degrade our definition of
The Nation from a spirited and sacred thing to a material,
organic thing that can be negotiated and bargained
over. That is why he warned political leaders of the
future not to bind themselves or restrict future generations
by treaties or contracts with the enemy, lest they
put hindrance in the way of those who come behind
from asserting (by whatever means necessary) the freedom
of our nation.
is in this vein that the British made sure when the
Good Friday Agreement was being negotiated, the words
a United Ireland by exclusively peaceful and
democratic means were included. Their intentions
were to restrict the Irish people in the methods we
use to free the nation and break the connection with
England. Many political leaders fell for it and signed,
even Republicans. Many of my own friends at the time
voted for the Agreement. Most of the people voted
for it, citing peace as the main reason for doing
so. Unfortunately, peace alone cannot be the reason
we lay down arms or accept this Agreement. The fight
is about the freedom of the Nation and until the Nation
has obtained its freedom there is an obligation on
all to fight for it (by whatever means necessary).
Peace will be the fruit of freedom not the other way
greatest trick of the British Government is to get
us to govern ourselves while they still hold Executive
power, which was shown by the recent cancellation
of the election. Imagine the uproar in Britain, if
a Prime Minister cancelled an election because they
thought they would not get the result they wanted.
This goes to show the contempt that Britain holds
my friends, there is no law, treaty or agreement in
Heaven or Earth, that can bind a man or woman from
fighting for the freedom of ones country. Any
leader, organisation or political party that tries
to do so will in the word of PH Pearse be repudiated
by the next generation. He supported this fact
by pointing out that the United Irishmen repudiated
Grattan, the Yong Irelanders repudiated OConnell
and the Irish Volunteers repudiated Redmond, little
did he know that the list would go on as some cannot
learn from mistakes. I would implore anyone who has
a love of our country or who wants to guard against
mistakes or untruths, traps or treaties is to read
the writings of Tone, Lalor, Davis and Mitchel as
they are the founding fathers of Irish Republicans,
we are only students.
the Gaol this week, Prison management have taken away
some Republicans' association time and that means
that some of the men only get out of their cells for
just over one hour per day. This is further punishment
for asserting our right to remember our dead on Easter
Sunday. After further threats this week from Loyalists,
one man was moved to a different landing after being
threatened by two Loyalists in the exercise yard.
Our man would not cower down but bravely stood his
ground even though he was badly outnumbered. Despite
the screws witnessing the incident from a close proximity,
no attempt was made to intervene and later the same
day our man was moved out of the wing. You might this
was for his own safety but think again, they moved
him onto a wing with more loyalists than the one he
left and then moved another Republican into the cell
he had vacated. In a further twist, when Republicans
are let out of our cells to collect dinner or lunch
at the servery, the screws make sure that all the
Loyalists on the landing are let out at the same time.
In the case of most Republicans there is only 1 or
2 of us on each landing and this leaves us badly outnumbered
and gives the Loyalists ample to opportunity to assault
and threaten Republican POWs. We have brought
this situation to Prison Managements attention but
its like talking to a brick wall. This leads
us to draw the conclusion that it is a deliberate
policy of the Prison to put us in a vulnerable position
at all times when we are out of our cells.
ongoing discrimination against Nationalists and Republicans
continues as regards our Sunday Mass. Other denominations
are given a specific time every Sunday for their service
and are allowed to mix both sentenced and remand prisoners.
In the case of Sunday Mass for Catholics, two Masses
take place - one for sentenced Republicans and Non-Republican
remand prisoners and other for Republican remand and
the rest of Non-Republican remand. The reason for
this unusual and over the top operation is to keep
Republican sentenced and Remand prisoners from conversing
with each other. As well as this we have to wait at
the front grille and gates of the block for 30 - 40
minutes each Sunday as we dont get a specific
time for the service. On occasion we have been told
that Mass is postponed for a further hour or two or
cancelled altogether. Before we go into the church,
we have to go through body searches, numerous gates
and security checks as well as filing past 5 or 6
Alsatian dogs. No other religious denomination has
to go through such an ordeal or is treated in such
ways. As Republicans we have carried out a series
of protests against such treatment and this will continue
until we are accorded out rights as Prisoners of War.
for Republican POWs and out families is very
much appreciated. I would like to take this opportunity
on behalf of us all, to thank all who sent Easter
Cards and messages of support, especially our friends
in America and Scotland.
Go raibh maith agat agus tiocfaidh ar la,
Is mise, Rory O More.
Chairde, A chomradaithe,
contemplating in my cell over the Easter about the
recent ultimatum given by Tony Blair to the Sinn Fein
leadership, a few lines of Joseph M. Plunketts
poem The New Judas came to mind
Is now their claim and I refuse, I will not bargain
all to lose. Unfortunately for Republicans,
Sinn Fein have bargained all its
just that some of their number werent told that
in the final hours of the Crucifixion of Republicanism
they had to drive the nails into their own hands.
But far from the boys and girls being fooled by the
Sinn Fein leadership, they allowed themselves to be
you start on the road of bartering all your goods
sooner or later you will be left naked. The thing
that has dawned on the rank and file is that if they
fold their hand it cannot just be picked up again.
They cannot claim to carry the mantle if their own
leadership says it is over. Then they have to ask
themselves the questions - For What? What did they
all go to Gaol for? What did they die for? What have
we suffered hardship for? I dont think that
the thirty pieces of silver that was given by the
British will quench the thirst of freedom. I would
ask the rank and file a different question, Are you
going to accept thirty pieces of silver and all that
goes with it, the guilt, the sense of betrayal. The
questions are hard, there is no doubt in that. The
answer is even harder but it is known to all true
Republicans - I will not bargain all to lose,
I will not sell Thee!
attempts by the Prison management were made over the
Easter to marginalize Republicans. Any Republicans
that were wearing an Easter Lily on Easter Sunday
morning were not allowed out of their cell all day.
This action ensured that Republicans were denied their
visits and our mandatory one hour of exercise. We
were also denied our right to attend Sunday Mass and
to walk down the landing to receive our dinner and
lunch. An attempt was made to bribe us, by offering
to let us go to our visits if we removed our Lilies
and many Republicans throughout the Gaol were charged
under Prison rules with failing to carry out
a lawful order as we refused to remove the emblem
we hold dear. Many families that had made the journey
(some travelling for two hours) were bitterly disappointed
especially the children who were looking forward to
seeing their Daddies on Easter Sunday. None of the
screws who were confronted the next morning about
this blatant act of discrimination were able to answer
the fact that this decision was purely sectarian,
given that poppies were openly sold and worn on Remembrance
Sunday by screws and loyalists alike.
a further act of discrimination certain Republicans
were targeted for boxed visits in the
following days. The Prison Management were determined
to make their point and on Wednesday morning the search
team raided all Republican cells. Strip searches were
carried out, cells were wrecked and Easter lilies
were taken along with other items. But this course
of action is seen for what it is an attempt to demoralise
and demonise Republican POWs. They seem to think
they can break the unbreakable. No matter what hardships
we have to suffer we will never forsake our tradition
or beliefs and we will assert ourselves at every given
opportunity, come what may!
mise le dea-mhein, Rory O More, PRO.
received on 15/5/03 from Maghaberry Gaol written by
Greetings to family, friends, supporters and comrades.
This time of year is a poignant time for Republicans
everywhere as we remember our gallant dead and pay
homage to their memory. We acknowledge their sacrifice
and re-dedicate ourselves to the cause and struggle
for a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic.
a blatant act of discrimination and in an attempt
to prevent Republicans from remembering our dead,
the Prison Management have tried to stop us from receiving
and wearing Easter Lilies. Even though in the lead
up to Remembrance Sunday, British Legion poppies were
openly worn by screws and loyalists in the Gaol and
were sold without hindrance. Its one thing to discriminate
against the living but to extend that to the dead
is typical of Brit mentality in its war against Republicans.
Prison Management in a further attempt to censor and
criminalize Republicans, have recently informed
us that we can no longer refer to ourselves as Political
Prisoners when sending letters out of the Gaol. They
seem to think that if they can stop us writing it
we all might disappear, out of sight, out of
mind, you might say. God forbid anyone outside
gets to hear there are still Political Prisoners in
Gaol. Wouldnt that mean the war is not over,
the Brits havent left and Republicans arent
pacified? Exactly! And this is the way it will be
until Britain decides to relinquish its claim to the
six counties and acts accordingly. This doesnt
mean the setting up of a sham Parliament to rule the
North in their stead. It means the unconditional withdrawal
of its Power and Apparatus from our country and inevitably,
until then, there will always be Political Prisoners.
No amount of censorship will change that fact.
week after Stevens Three, the usual spin and black
propaganda came out in an attempt to narrow the focus
to the Special Branch and Force Research Unit (FRU).
People should not be duped into believing that there
was a few bad apples in the barrel. The
whole barrel and the makers of the barrel are rotten.
is a policy of the British Ministry of Defence, it
was used by the Brits in many wars throughout the
world and one could say they had it down to
a fine art.
is no doubt, given that the Secretary of State and
the Minister of Defence both sit at the cabinet table
and are answerable to the Prime Minister. We all know
that when it came to matters about Ireland Margaret
Thatcher was very hands on, therefore dont lose
sight of the ball amidst the fog of war.
Ultimate Responsibility lies at the top not at the
bottom. But dont hold your breath for a War
Crimes Court being set up in The Hague to try
Thatcher or Tom King (the then Secretary of State);
they will not be joining the leader of the former
Yugoslavia. No one will call them leaders of terrorists
or tyrants. This world is ill divided, my friends.
What really sticks in my throat is that former comrades
and the so called leaders of Sinn Fein were wheeling
and dealing with such people in secret talks. Shame
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