New push to end internment
New push to end internment


A prisoners’ welfare group has launched a campaign to highlight the effective internment of Irish republican prisoners who are spending years in jails on both sides of the border without going to trial.

The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association has put up posters across Ireland pointing out that those ‘interned by remand’ in Maghaberry, Hydebank and Portlaoise, have spent over 11,000 days detention between them, or over 30 years.

The IRPWA currently lists 27 prisoners it represents across Ireland with 15, just over half, being held on remand.

Internment by remand involves holding prisoners for indefinite periods without the granting of bail.

Republican prisoners are often held for years without going to trial, and the charges are often eventually dropped or the cases fall apart.

Also known as administrative detention, internment has been a weapon used by the British state to imprison Irish nationalist for centuries, but “we are seeing this tactic being deployed more than ever before,” Mr Gallagher said.

He added: “We have also witnessed a sharp increase in refusal of compassionate bail.”

“Many of those on remand for a number of years have been refused short term bail to be home with their families at the time of huge life events. They have missed births, marriages and even the passing of their loved ones.

“All this comes on the back of an increase in the number of loyalists being granted bail at a whim. Over the last number of years we have witnessed loyalists being granted bail after being caught in possession of guns, drugs as well as other serious offences.

“The overwhelming evidence points to MI5 controlling the judiciary when it comes to republican prisoners. This blatant breach of human rights must be challenged.”

The campaign comes as the prison authorities admitted that all Catholic prisoners at Maghaberry, not just political prisoners, are enduring high levels of discrimination and bigotry.

Mr Gallagher called on all republicans and those who care about human rights to back their call for an immediate end to internment. But shortly after releasing his statement, he was himself arrested and taken to Musgrave Interrogation Centre.

Saoradh National Chairman, Stephen Murney said Mr Gallagher had been targeted by both the Crown Forces and by a loyalist disinformation campaign.

“Paddy has been a Republican activist since his teenage years, and is well respected across the Republican spectrum,” he said.

“This recent attack on Paddy... is just the latest in a series of attacks on Republicans and their families as part of a concerted MI5-directed campaign. This will continue to fail.”

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