Maghaberry Crisis

Pauline Mellon with her thoughts on the Maghaberry unrest. Pauline Mellon is a rights activist and justice campaigner in the North West. She Blogs at The Diary of A Derry Mother.

Dignity & Justice

Over the past few days Maghaberry Prison has featured prominently in local news broadcasts. This follows on from an arbitrary lock down within the Roe House area of the prison which houses around fifty Republican Political Prisoners. Reports emerging from the prison tell us of the violence being meted out to political prisoners after general prison staff were temporarily replaced by a riot squad referred to as a 'standby search team.'

In a joint 2009 report by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice it was suggested that the search team be removed from the prison due to their forceful presence, the lack of independent oversight and the failure of prison authorities to address complaints over their conduct. Recent events in Maghaberry would reinforce the need for the Justice Department and Prison Authorities to follow these recommendations and to ensure that the treatment of prisoners is compliant with international human rights standards.

With justice powers and the daily running of prisons a devolved responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly we must question the silence of public representatives on this issue. Maybe these representatives including Justice Minister Mr Ford should take time to read the statement published on the Madden and Finucane Solicitors website which tells of how prison authorities refused to allow injured prisoners medical and legal visits.

Seventeen years on from the Good Friday Agreement political prisoners continue to endure arbitrary lock down, 23 hour lock up, controlled movement and regular brutal forced strip searching despite an agreement brokered in August 2010 to address these issues. If this was happening in any other country in the world our so called civic leaders and moral guardians would be queuing up to condemn it yet here their silence speaks volumes as does their hypocrisy and double standards.

Another worrying issue that should be of concern to every right thinking individual is the blatant erosion of civil liberties. There are now a growing number of people being imprisoned for long periods of time without trial under the guise of remand which is something the DUP have overlooked in their attempts to justify the situation in Maghaberry.

The responsibility for the ongoing human rights abuses in Maghaberry unlike the past cannot be laid at the door of Downing Street, these human rights abuses are being carried out by a prison staff employed by the Northern Ireland Assembly and as much as they try and shirk their collective responsibilities they like Pontious Pilate will never be able to wash the blood off their hands.

I would call on anyone who opposes human rights abuse to exercise whatever influence they can, and especially those in the clergy who again remain silent.

Share This:

Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

2 comments to ''Maghaberry Crisis"

  1. Part of the remit of the attorney general of norn iorn is the protection of human rights,John Larkin hails from west Belfast Andytown yet his silence on the continuing human rights abuse in Maghaberry is reminiscent of his inaction in the Marian Price case,David the weasel Ford claims that the flat earthed dup bigoted orange order members of the poa have been threatened oh dear yet he doesnt mention how prisoners continue to end up brutalised,Patten made recommendations that could have eased the problems in the prisons here yet they were ignored by everyone including quisling $inn £eind.the numbers of political prisoners is on the increase those who have the ability to resolve the issues within the prison need to take action sooner rather than later or they may end up regretting that their silence was also part of the problem when the issue spills out onto the streets.

  2. Pauline I am currently working as a joinery worker in up state New York! I work in an attorney's office. He had carry out this type of legal work in the 1980,s in ny.

    He said that the most efficient way of dealing with it is through civil litagation!

    He said it is important to carry out a 3 prong approach which believes if carried out by a effective legal team can reduce prison brutality to a minimum!

    First if through the prisoners legal team or individually they report as an assult to the police serice! They can be very reluctant to investigate but persevere!

    Then you take a civil legal action against the prison service which is fairly standard!

    But he says the most important issue of all is take civil legal actions directly and personally against the individual prison staff member! It was explained to me that this is quite time consuming with limited financial incentitive therefore lawyers are less likely to do it!

    However it insures the staff members name adders and dob are possibly put in the public domain, which they fear most of all due to possible reprisal not mention embarrassment for them and their families .

    He said this on its own practically ended mainstream prison brutality as the first guard prosecuted in this way was forced to leave his home due to intimidation, his Maraige broke down and he evently drank him self to death!

    As I said the lad that was talking to me is an experienced attorney and has almost guaranteed sucess or your money back!

    He said the reason it doesn't be done is because the majority if lawyers in the north are corrupt or incompetent!

    But he believes that has to be at least one decent one out there!

    So if any one can pass on this message so hopefully some one can pick up on it!

    Ps the legal system are almost identical!


  • To add an Emoticons Show Icons
  • To add code Use [pre]code here[/pre]
  • To add an Image Use [img]IMAGE-URL-HERE[/img]
  • To add Youtube video just paste a video link like