Republican prisoners at Maghaberry are being denied all medical consultations following policy changes at the prison, according to a prisoners’ support group.
The Family and Friends of Republican Prisoners said that prison warders at the controversial county Antrim jail are now demanding that prisoners change their clothing before speaking to a doctor or nurse.
“The prisoners have and will continue to shower prior to any medical consultation but the new policy which would require them to go to a decontamination cell and change their clothing before and after a two minute consultation is totally unacceptable to the prisoners,” said Mandy Duffy of the Family and Friends group.
“After several complaints it has become apparent that the medical staff have no issue with seeing the prisoners without the need for a change of clothing but as usual the denial of these consultations lies solely with the prison admin.
“Once again the denial of human rights to political prisoners remains the norm in Maghaberry. We the Family are Friends are highly concerned with this new development and call on people to apply pressure were possible and support the PoWs on protest.”
One prisoner at Maghaberry, Gerry McGeough, has said that Britain and unionists are using the prison system to pursue a policy of “vengeance and retribution” against the nationalist community in the North.
A well-known independent republican politician, Mr McGeough was controversially jailed last year for an IRA attack dating from 1981.
“Through my incarceration and ongoing political persecution the British are sending a stark message to Irish Catholics,” he said in a statement from his Maghaberry cell.
“That message is an old one. It is ‘Croppies Lie Down’.
“What the British/Unionist establishment is, in effect saying, is that the IRA lost the war and Sinn Féin bungled the peace. We are in total control now and we will do what we like. For ‘Croppies’ there will be no future, only vengeance and retribution for the past.
“We will break up families. We will take fathers from their wives and children and a mother from her family, and throw them in jail so that unionist bigots can smirk, laugh and wallow in sectarian hate.”
He pointed to high levels of emigration from the nationalist areas of the Six Counties, and asked: “Is it any wonder that tens of thousands of Orangemen are to march on Stormont in September to gloat and celebrate?”