Posted by Jim on February 10, 2018
Sinister agenda of prison authorities
Republican prisoners have condemned the authorities in Maghaberry prison
over a new clampdown on educational and historical materials at the
The latest incident involves the memoir of former IRA diretor of
operations, ‘My Life in the IRA’ by Mick Ryan. The history book was
released earlier this month and presents a Volunteers’ account of the
IRA border campaign of the 1950s. However, the book was refused to
prisoner Connor Highes and then banned by the prison authorities,
ostensibly on account of the cover image which appears on the book.
A spokesperson for prisoner support group Cogus said Hughes had been
told it was due to the “outline of an old 50s rifle” on the cover.
Other items which have recently been banned include the DVD of the
historical documentary ’66 days’ on the 1981 hunger strike. It was
prohibited just days before it was broadcast on the BBC.
The Cogus spokesperson described the move as “sectarian” and “alludes to an agenda that is both anti-Irish and anti-nationalist.
They said: “This prohibition outlines a deeper agenda in which the prison
administration still harbours a closed mindset that refuses to
acknowledge any narrative but their own regarding the hunger strike of
1981, and furthermore shows the lengths that the administration wil go
to censor a different narrative”.
Meanwhile, a Cork County councillor has been branded “anti-British” by
unionists following his motion that the local authority oppose the
extradition of Irish prisoners to the North of Ireland due to the
practice of full-body strip searching at Maghaberry prison.
The former Sinn Fein councillor had a motion passed by Cork County
Council opposing the brutal practice last month. The motion has been criticised
in the North with Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister saying
it is “cloaked in a diatribe of anti-British rhetoric”. Democratic
Unionist Party MP Jeffrey Donaldson claimed the motion was an excuse for
A committee of the Dublin parliament and a number of human rights groups
have also raised concerns about the practice of strip-searching at
Maghaberry. Mr McCarthy said it is a violation of the European Human
He said his concerns are not about nationality, but human rights and
fears the situation will worsen once Britain exits the EU.
“This is not anti-British, it’s a human rights issue. My wife is
English. My mother is English and all one side of my family is British,”
he told the Cork Evening Echo.
“Yes, I’m an Irish republican. Yes, I’m a former Sinn Fein councillor
and a former prisoner myself but I’m also a politician and this issue is
purely about human rights. If it was any other group of prisoners that
were receiving the same kind of treatment as republican prisoners, I’d
be speaking out as well,” he added.
Mr McCarthy has called for staff at Maghaberry to use search technology
instead of subjecting prisoners to full body strip searches, which he
has described as cruel. “The technology is there,” he said.