Irish Republican News · May 10, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Fears for prisoner ‘under terrible pressure to inform’


The mother of a remand prisoner has said she fears for his mental health after attempts were made to recruit him as an informer while under 24-hour lock-up behind bars.

Anne McDaid said two approaches had been made to her son Gary McDaid since he was arrested in March. Since his arrest he has been held in Maghaberry Prison’s Bann House, which accommodates non-political prisoners.

“It’s hard to know who is doing this. He says it’s not the police,” Mrs McDaid said, suggesting British military intelligence (MI5) was at work.

“The pressure is terrible and is driving him out of his mind.

“He just sits there all day and doesn’t know when they are going to come for him.

“He is in his cell 24 hours a day and I am fearful for his mental and physical health.

“He has lost over a stone in weight since he went in there.”

On Sunday, a prisoner in the same area of the jail died in a suspected suicide.

Mr McDaid’s requests to be transferred to the jail’s republican Roe Four wing have been turned down.

It has been suggested that Mr McDaid’s safety might be at risk if he was moved to the jail’s republican wing.

Derry assembly member Raymond McCartney, himself a former republican prisoner, met Mr McDaid and republican prisoners last week.

“I am wholly satisfied that there is no threat to the safety of Gary McDaid and therefore he should be moved to Roe House immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, a human rights group has called for clarity on the status of MI5 within the north’s prison system.

A Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) report found that although prisons are managed by justice minister David Ford, all matters designated as “national security”, including MI5 activity, fall under the control of British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers.

Such matters also includes the management of political prisoners as well as surveillance and intelligence gathering inside prisons.

The report says all applications to join the republican wing at Maghaberry Prison are considered by Britain’s Northern Ireland Office (NIO). In addition, it claims that when staff in prisons are engaged in “national security” matters, they are only accountable to the British government.

CAJ director Brian Gormally said there needed to be more accountability.

“The point is if a case raises credible evidence of improper pressure being put on someone to become an informer, then there is an issue as to who is in charge here, which presumably is MI5 at some level, or the NIO are getting evidence from MI5,” he said.

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© 2013 Irish Republican News