The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association call for the direct opening of visits, both social and legal in Maghaberry and Hydebank gaols.
While society continually re-emerges from lockdown, Republican Prisoners in the Occupied Six Counties find themselves once again denied basic human rights, the right to fair access to their families and full access to their legal defence teams.
Republican Prisoners were to the fore when it came to taking direct action against the Covid pandemic. They unselfishly stopped all visits. A decision that was not easy and made with heavy hearts. Republican Prisoners have had no visits for nearly 17 months.
Visits with family and friends are the shining highlight for a Republican Prisoner.
The continued denial of legal visits while Republican Prisoners are in the middle of lengthy trials or appeals is abhorrent and is designed to thwart a proper defence being mounted.
Republican Prisoners know the occupier has the odds well stacked in their favour in a diplock court.
In the early phases of the pandemic the Republican Prisoners in Hydebank and Maghaberry went out of their way to help create a conflict free environment. The Republican Prisoners looked for nothing more than face to face dialogue so that any arising issues could be settled maturely and quickly.
These advances were rebuffed by both regimes and their paymasters.
Today both regimes in Maghaberry and Hydebank have used the cover of Covid to create totalitarian boxed visits, knowing full well that Republican Prisoners will never accept this format.
It is clear these MI5 directed puppet regimes are using the issue of Covid to maintain a strangle hold on the Republican Prisoners and their access to the outside world.
The facts are, society is opening up. Prison staff leave the gaols, go home, hug their families, socialise in bars or at concerts, then return the next day to Maghaberry and Hydebank. Are they somehow immune from the Covid virus?
Republican Prisoners are not demanding anything more than their human rights regarding proper visits.
To achieve these basic human rights and help achieve a conflict free environment the regimes in Maghaberry and Hydebank should meaningfully engage in dialogue with Republican Prisoners.