What will Labour do about McAliskey?
By Eoin O'Broin
Eight months pregnant Roisin McAliskey has been remanded in
custody for another month following the adjournment of her bail
application in Bow Street Magistrates court on Tuesday 6 May.
25 year old McAliskey was too ill to attend the proceedings. The
court hearing was adjourned until after the child is born.
Gareth Peirce, McAliskey's solicitor, is preparing a bail
application in light of medical opinion that her client is too
ill to be in prison. Both McAliskey's midwife and doctor believe
her condition demands that she should be in hospital receiving
Roisín's mother, Bernadette McAliskey, speaking last week,
expressed hope that ``the change of government in Britain will at
least affect the humanitarian aspect''. She hoped the new
administration will be prepared to review the case in the light
of the collapse of alleged identification evidence, and at least
consider the circumstances in which her daughter is held from a
human rights perspective. She is considering referring the case
back to the new Home Secretary Jack Straw.
In America, President Clinton has come under more pressure to act
on the case following the publication of a letter by a war
veteran threatening to return his war medals in protest at the
White House's inactivity on the issue. Michael Pitts, of
Washington DC, has pledged to return his Bronze Star Medal with
Valour saying, ``I no longer desire to wear the decorations of my
country if we have ceased to defend basic human rights and
liberties by choosing not to at least speak out for freedom
In London, Fuascailt, the Irish political prisoners campaign
group, held a picket outside Downing Street on Sunday 4 May to
demand that British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the new Labour
government, immediately release Roisin McAliskey. At 1pm the
protesters handed a letter into Downing Street for the attention
of Tony Blair, reminding him of the conditions under which
McAliskey is being held, the length and severity of her
pregnancy, and the fact that she has yet to be charged with any
The letter also demanded the repatriation of all Irish political
prisoners serving sentences in England to jails in Ireland.
Fuascailt spokesperson Peter Middleton said, ``We hope that a new
Labour government who no longer rely on the Ulster Unionists to
stay in power can bring new impetus and restore basic human
rights into the issue of Irish political prisoners held in jails