Irish Republican News · August 8, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Hunger strike families appeal for action

The families of most of the 1981 Hunger Strikers have called for an end to the abuses taking place at Maghaberry prison in County Antrim.

The group, which also has the support of prominent nationalist and republican figures such as Bernadette McAliskey and Tommy McKearney, as well as former political prisoners, has said it had been confronted with “a humanitarian crisis” in Maghaberry.

They said the 1998 Good Friday Agreement had promised a Human Rights framework and Bill of Rights to ensure people in the North would never again be deemed ineligible for protection of their rights because of their politics.

“As families of those who died in prison on the 1981 Hunger Strikes, and as members of the H-Block Campaign who supported them at that time, we call upon the conscience of the people to urgently support Roisin Lynch in her demand for the immediate release of her life partner, Brendan; the Price family in their demand for Marian Price to be released on bail.”

The ‘Maghaberry Crisis group’, which has the support of the Sands, Devine, Hurson, McDonnell and O’Hara families, pointed out that on 20th August 1981, Michael Devine died in prison - the last of ten republican prisoners to die in the hunger strike.

“Today, nearly thirty years later, another republican, Brendan Lillis is dying in Maghaberry Prison because of the same refusal of government authorities to govern with humanity, compassion, respect for human dignity and in compliance with International Human Rights standards and obligations. Brendan is not on hunger strike. He is being denied his human rights.

“Marian Price is also in Maghaberry, in solitary confinement in a male prison despite being granted bail. Other prisoners are routinely humiliated and violated by strip searching. Once again, human rights don’t apply to ‘these’ people.”

The group also called on the Six-County Executive and Minister of Justice at Stormont to “bring an immediate end” to strip-searching in the prisons, as well as “the continued tolerance of humiliation and violation of the basic human rights of political prisoners”.


Separately, a 48-hour anti-internment/’implement the agreement’ camp was organised at Free Derry Corner over the weekend.

The camp was intended to raise awareness of the ongoing internment of Marian Price, Brendan Lillis, Martin Corey, Gerry McGeough and other former republican political prisoners who were returned to prison by the authorities in recent years, as well as the ongoing human rights abuses at Maghaberry.

Other protests are being planned for the coming weeks amid mounting pressure for a complete reform of the prison and justice system in the North, on the 40th anniversary of the introduction of internment without trial.

Meanwhile, a legal effort has begun to release Marian Price from her jail hell, using a pardon she secured in 1981.

Her legal team have argued that the terms of the pardon she received at that time covered all of the IRA actions for which Price was convicted in 1974. They are understood to be seeking to establish there was therefore no power for Ms Price’s release licence, which pre-dates the pardon, to be revoked.

However, the British government’s Northern Ireland Office has so far failed to make a copy of the key pardon document available.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News