Protests over prison assault


A flash protest took place outside Maghaberry prison on Thursday after warders attacked prisoners 48 hours earlier.

In what was described as a “brutal and vicious” attack, five republican prisoners were assaulted by the prison’s riot squad in Roe House on Tuesday afternoon and dragged to punishment cells.

The confrontation came after prisoners said they had objected to the presence of a named warder over previous sectarian disputes, and the warder in question had then “manufactured an incident”.

“As a result of this the riot squad was brought on to the wing. With shields and batons, they viciously beat five Republican Prisoners from both Roe 3 and 4 before trailing them to the boards,” they said in a statement released through Saoradh.

The prisoners were named as Gavin Coyle and Brian Carron from Tyrone, Paddy O’Neill and Conor Hughes from Belfast, and Meath man Darren Poleon.

Following an appeal on social media, hundreds protested at the gates of Maghaberry on Thursday night despite inclement weather. A range of political opinion was present, including the Irish Republican Socialist Party. They also hit out at the Maghaberry authorities.

“As our people prepare for future independence, the screws of Maghaberry prison still preside unmonitored over a regime which may soon be remembered only for a litany of foreign inspired torture and oppression,” the IRSP said.

“Establishment politicians can no longer sit back and offer empty suggestions to resolve the ongoing problem of inhumane oppression in Maghaberry prison.

“Failure by mainstream politicians to condemn this latest attack on republican prisoners can be considered no less than silent complicity, complicity which will be recorded and condemned in the new Ireland.”

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