Dirty protest ends after prisoner moved
Dirty protest ends after prisoner moved


A five-week dirty protest at Maghaberry Prison has ended after senior republican Dermot Burke was moved to Republican Roe House at the jail.

Political and humanitarian concerns finally motivated prison authorities to abandon the claim that he was ‘under threat’ in Roe House, where other republican prisoners are housed.

Various bodies and organisations over the past number of weeks had leant their assistance to end Mr Burke’s isolation and abuse.

The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association particularly credited independent intermediary Conal McFeely, Galway West TD Eamon O’Cuiv, and the International Red Cross.

Even as he took part in the extreme protest, which involved smearing excrement on his cell walls, Mr Burke was subjected to a desperate effort to recruit him as an informer by MI5.

He was also subjected to a 23-hour lockdown, with prison authorities repeatedly claiming he had “contraband” secreted inside him.

They carried out over 20 pointless X-ray scans on Mr Burke. During one scan two weeks ago, the riot squad brought in sniffer dogs to defecate throughout the cell, including the floor and on top of his bed.

As the protest was taking place, Six County Justice Minister Naomi Long claimed that there were no political prisoners, a statement which the IRPWA said recalled the stance adopted by Margaret Thatcher forty year ago.

The situation with Mr Burke “proves the Republican analysis that MI5 continue to control Maghaberry”, they said. They accused former republicans and the “great and good” of society of closing their eyes and ears to what is happening to political prisoners.

A statement by Sinn Féin councillor, Sean McGlinchey, in which he described the isolation of Mr Burke as “scandalous” and “inhumane”, was acknowledged, but said “this flies in the face of his party’s public stance regarding political prisoners and revolutionary republicans”.

“The Maghaberry regime is rotten to the core and yet the British ‘Justice’ Minister Naomi Long sits on her moral high chair doing nothing. She is part of the problem with Maghaberry,” they said.

“The other great ones who shout about everything thousands of miles away but ignore what is actually happening to Irish political prisoners today are a disgrace and should hang their heads in shame.

“While Republican Prisoners and the IRPWA attempt to navigate a conflict free environment within the gaols, the MI5 led regime, by their actions towards Republican Prisoners, show they are intent on conflict.”

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