Prisoners conference in Donegal
The former republican prisoners' organisation, Coiste na n-Iarchimí, held an awareness building seminar with statutory agencies last Friday in Letterkenny, attended by some 50 people.
Sean Kinsella, who was jailed for nearly a quarter of a century, described conditions in the notorious British Special Secure Units, and Pauline Quinn, now a displaced person, presented a moving submission to the seminar. Jennifer McDermott and Padraig Mac Lochlain, both children at the time of their fathers' respective imprisonment, told of what it was like to be ostracised and isolated in their communities, living in a world blinded by Section 31 and heavy repression by the Gardaí of all things republican.
The purpose of the seminar was to build an understanding of the situation faced by ex-prisoners, their families and the many displaced people who have fled sectarian persecution, war, arrest and intimidation with representatives of statutory agencies and to share information on the assistance necessary to address this central aspect of conflict resolution.
The meeting was chaired by Tom Dignam, from Ballybofey, chair of Abhaile Arís, the Coiste project based in Letterkenny, Donegal.