MI5 isolation strategy ‘defeated’
MI5 isolation strategy ‘defeated’


Three republican internees have been been removed from isolation at Maghaberry prison after what supporters denounced as “harassment, intimidation and Kitson-like tactics” of the prison administration and their British overseers.

The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association said Gavin Coyle, Brian Carron and Jonathan McGinty had been moved to Republican Roe House after wholly rejecting claims that Mr Coyle was under threat from other republicans, a claim they blamed on the ‘dirty tricks’ of British military intelligence.

The IRPWA thanked 26 County Fianna Fail TD Eamon Ó Cuiv, who visited Mr Coyle, and other intermediaries who had assisted in ending the situation a week after it began.

“The IRPWA commend the stance of the Republican Political Prisoners held on Roe, as they showed their steely comradeship, and determination to get Gavin housed in Republican Roe House,” they said.

Mr Coyle has previously been held in the punishment block for almost 5 years, despite the average stay there being 3 weeks. The block was described in a November 2015 report as “old and shabby with cells being in a poor state of disrepair” and the environment “oppressive”.

It was feared he had once again been picked out for selective punishment in a block where he had previously endured a 22 hour lockup amid threats and harassment from criminals.

The IRPWA denounced “this dirty tactic” of MI5 who were using isolation as “a means of physiological torture” designed to weaken Mr Coyle’s resolve and make him susceptible to pressure. They also noted he had been prevented from making a phone call on his committal to Maghaberry, as every prisoner is normally entitled.

“This means he was unable to make contact with his family, friends or legal team; further isolating him,” they said.

“Having acknowledged the treatment Gavin was facing, independent mediators attempted to find out more information in an attempt to resolve the issues, however that information wasn’t forthcoming from the Maghaberry regime.

“It is clear, following these actions, that the position of the IRPWA and Republican Prisoners has been vindicated - MI5 do control Maghaberry Gaol.”

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