Lillis under heavy guard at City Hospital
Brendan Lillis is receiving urgent treatment at City Hospital in the south of Belfast where he remains under the close watch of British prison authorities.
The internee was taken out of Maghaberry prison’s medical wing today after a doctor ruled his condition had worsened.
Brendan’s partner Roisin Lynch had been visiting the former political prisoner at the jail when she was told he was being removed for treatment to an unidentified location.
However, Roisin was ultimately informed of his whereabouts, and was able to briefly visit her partner at City Hospital this [Tuesday] evening. She reported that there were three ‘screws’ [warders] at the door of the ward who searched her entering and leaving.
Although she said Brendan was “in agony” following the move, and had been placed on two intravenous drips, she was uncertain what medical treatment he was receiving.
It was also unclear what conditions Brendan is being held under at City Hospital, and what regime may be imposed on her visits.
But there were hopes he would at least begin to receive appropriate care. “I just hope and pray they dont send him back to jail,” she said.
In the last week her partner had been unable to consume any food or water.
“All Brendan has man aged to do is suck on ice cubes apart from that he’s not eaten or drank at all,” she said.
“I’ve been saying for weeks that his condition is deteriorating and the doctor today confirmed that.”
Six-County ‘Justice Minister’ and Alliance Party leader David Ford has so far refused to release the seriously ill former blanketman.
Roisin fears the move may have been delayed too long.
“My worst fears are that it has been left too late.
“This isn’t to be confused with compassionate release. Brendan will still be a prisoner and kept under guard despite being critically ill.
“So the campaign to have him released continues.”
Prominent former republican prisoner Gerard Hodgins, who is supporting the campaign for Brendan’s release, said it was unclear if he would remain in hospital for a few days for assessment and then returned to a cell, or if he would remain in hospital for the foreseeable future.
“This cynical drip feed of information is a calculated insult to Roisin and another manifestation of the precise nature of the justice inherent in our justice system,” he said.
Sinn Fein West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said the minister needs to “get a grip” on the case.
“The advice he has been given to date by officials is clearly wrong. He now needs to do the right thing.
“He has the power to act and sort this situation out. He needs to release Brendan Lillis on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.”