A republican political prisoner, Luke O’Neill is spending Christmas on a dirty protest in Maghaberry Prison in protest at a refusal to move him to the republican wing.
Luke O’Neill was this week won the right at the High Court to seek a judicial review of the decision to detain him within the general population at Maghaberry. The situation has exposed him to sectarian abuse and left him fearing for his life. He is unable to leave his cell and cannot get proper access to food.
In recent weeks, Maghaberry warders have stopped bringing meals to Luke’s cell and told him if he wanted to eat he had to associate with criminal prisoners on the wing. Luke refused and had been living on snack foods he was forced to purchase himself.
Following submissions Justice Maguire this week ruled the case should proceed to a full hearing. Mr O’Neill’s lawyer, Gavin Booth of KRW Law, backed the decision to grant leave to proceed to a full hearing. He said Mr O’Neill had been “subject to a tirade of abuse and has been attacked while in the general prison population”.
“We believe he should be moved to Roe House immediately,” he added.
The Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare Association also welcomed the judgement, which they said paves the way for an extensive challenge into the “sinister decision” by the NIO (Northern Ireland Office) to refuse Luke’s application to the republican landing.