Entombing Harry Fitzsimmons

Shortly after the blanket protest ended I read a book with the simple title Dolgun. It was the story of Alexander Dolgun who had been held in Moscow’s notorious Lubyanka Prison. His experience was later described by a reader in desolate terms: ‘he is alone in his nightmare, except for you, the reader.’ That type of book was popular among prisoners who had come through a horrendous encounter with their custodians and wanted to see how others coped with experiences that seemed similar.

When we were enduring the rigours of the blanket protest there were few who did not know what was going on. There was not a lot to be done or in some cases not sought to be done. But society never had the comfort blanket of ignorance about what was going on behind its penal walls. It knew full well what it paid its vile screws to do: don a uniform and wilfully maltreat those who refused to wear any such thing.

Why Dolgun reminded me of the Harry Fitzsimmons situation is because in his current circumstances there seems to be him and the reader. And there is little enough to be read. The Irish News alone seems to be championing the cause of human rights for prisoners. And even then it is on the basis of limited information. Why in this modern age have television cameras not been rolling in his cell? There is an attempt being made by prison management to entomb Harry Fitzsimmons in a sound proof environment, where it alone hears and ignores him. It is chipping away, unchecked, at the advances made by prisoners in the wake of the sustained protests and hunger strikes of three decades ago.

His partner Paula outlining something of what Harry Fitzsimmons underwent stated:
Last Thursday, Harry was dragged from his cell, battered, bruised, kicked, and stamped on his chest by several screws. They danced on his chest. He was able to ring home right afterward to our 16-year old daughter. He was breathless and could barely talk or breathe. He had no doctor, and no water. Harry was dragged into SSU (isolation) where he had his clothes cut off his body. He was handcuffed and chained to a bed. We've had no word from him since.

The Prison Service, lying through it teeth as it has always done in matters of prison staff brutality, has denied that Harry Fitzsimmons or any other prisoner had been beaten. Those of us who spent time on the wrong side of the walls and either witnessed or endured so much brutality and beatings have no recollection of the Prison Service ever admitting to it.

A jail chaplain informed his family that he could provide little news other than that Harry Fitzsimmons was being singled out in the SSU for special attention. His family was then denied a visit with him. Even more alarming was a claim by his solicitor that there was nothing he could do to reach the imprisoned man. The solicitor informed Paula that prison management was denying phone calls, family or legal visits. In a bid to counter this, the solicitor moved to take out a judicial review.

Is this 2010? Can prison management with its long history of abuse be given such power over someone in its custody? What has been furthered other than political careers if after 40 years of campaigning this is happening in the ‘penal dustbin’ at the centre of policing and justice?

Lillian Fitzsimmons, a sister of the imprisoned man, flagging up the vindictive nature of the prison regime pointed out that:
Harry was in Portlaoise before being moved to Maghaberry and had no problems. It shows this has nothing to do with security. If the regime in the South works without having to resort to such serious abuses of human rights then why can’t Maghaberry be the same?

It is not the same because power resides where it always has. The power of Finchley has never diminished. It extends to the North and courses through the repressive capillaries of British state malpractice. As micro Minister for Justice, ‘Lord Charles’ Ford makes not one iota of difference. His is the voice of those at his back – Whitehall.

Meanwhile, justice, as it always has in the North’s prisons, continues to caress the faces of republican prisoners – with its boot.


  1. Dear Anthony,
    Sorry, nothing to see with your article, but just to let you know that one of your interview has be published once again on a French speaking solidarity with Irish republicanism website: http://liberation-irlande.antifa.fr/
    This is very good. The interview done by a Quebec based newspaper is also very good. Good job.

  2. Well said Anthony,as usual, all I can add to that is that ex republicans in psf are now part of that repressive regime,how sad is that,and day 41 for Liam Hannaway, and still no word from Adams and co

  3. So glad you have this blog and the gift with the wielding of the pen Anthony. Nought coverage in media here downunder. The blockading/sanitizing of media coverage to be expected. This was so dammed accurate: 'repressive capillaries of British state malpractice' and what marty said too...
    It is yet another shameful, sickening time in Irelands' history taking place. The bearded one ='s one of the 'repressive capillaries' Only a fool would deny it &/or a Judas. It is peoples' apathy that is most enraging. Can they not see? or do they not want to see? Or is it simply they no longer care and can look the other way.

  4. Saint?MaryHedgehog, I have asked that question many times and still dont have any answers,for many years I asked why there was so many ex republicans ie, ex prisoners and psf,ers who were not involved anymore, the reply from Donaldson, Mc Auley and others was "ach these people have been burnt out" whatever that fucking means, from 1984 onwards the republican movement imo was deliberatly run into the ground by a combination of treachery,inflitration,and selfish intrest, which left so many people feeling so marginalised they just dont give a fuck and I fear that is the oponion most people in these areas have now , some call it peace at any price!

  5. Agree the movement was deliberately run into the ground...finished at skool fer the summer..readin what I LIKE TO READ now...halfway through the 'secret history' cant believe these guys got away with what they did.
    Don't think anyone was burned out...more like the art of personal assasination and demoralising was perfected..and the outfit sold out.

  6. Argh! Welcome back Larry is yer puter cured and now a pioneer,as for reading what ya want ,I dont think the bare ass monthly is entirely suitable lol grand to have ya back a cara,I,ve been reading up on how to maintain a healthy level of insanity,1 Sit in your car with sunglasses on and point a hairdryer at passing cars,watch the fuckers panic breaking,2 On all your cheque stubs write for marijuana,3 skip down the street rather than walk the look on peoples faces,4 Order a diet water when you go out to eat with a serious face,5 Sing along at the opera,6 When the money comes out at the atm scream I WON I WON !, 7 When leaving the zoo,start running towards the car park screaming "their loose run for your lives",8 over dinner tell the kids, due to the failing economy we are going to have to let some of you go the look on their wee faces ahh bless, and finaly when your in he chemists next pick up a packet of condoms and ask the assistant where the fitting room is.

  7. Heard this morning that things are not looking too good for Liam Hannaway.
    Yet no one seems to be overly concerned, least of all our politicans.

    Few people even speak about what is currently happening in the jail.
    It is mind boggling that a struggle which created and generated so much interest in the late 70's and early 80's is never spoken about.

    This deafening silence reminds me of a letter I read several weeks ago in "The Irish News"
    The author of the letter was complaining about having a GAA match interrupted by a minutes silence for the Famine victims.
    His letter ended with the words, "Time we forgot about all this"
    It's ok for people to still talk about the Holocaust, Apartheid, Racism, but f--k sake don't talk about the Irish because their leaders are now in cahoots with their oppressors.

    I honestly think, this is the mentality that is out there.
    A mentality of forgetting and denying.
    As Marty rightly said it is "Peace at any Price.!

  8. Marty, just reading your insanity tips.
    When I read the last one (8) I sort of thought about Marie.
    Take it the Clinic worked out ok?

  9. Nuala Iremember reading that letter ,and I,m nearly certain it was written by a guy from Cork,a f##king disgrace but not an uncommon attitude south of the border as I,m sure Anthony can testify, I fear that those who allow this awful situation to continue to detoriate and make no effort to resolve it will have a lot to answer for especially if those of a milatant disposition decide ,like in the 80,s that the only way to bring this crisis into the public domain is by executing prison officers and staff then where do we go, its close to midnight but there is still time for everyone to pull back from the brink,lets hope sense prevails and Liam Hannaway and the other men are allowed their dignity back .its still not to late.As for Marie Nuala you above all should know that its gonna take a silver bullet for her

  10. Marty, my son said that guy was from Cork "West Brit" as he calls him.

    The screw must be drinking the same serum that Sinn Fein give to their supporters.
    "The I can do anything serum"

    Any of them that are torturing prisoners deserve anything that comes their way.

    Albert says he agrees with St Paul "That women should be seen and not heard"
    Unfortunately he only ever utters such things on a Sunday, fuelled by the old Dutch Courage.
    I hope whoever is daring enough to fire the silver bullet at Marie can run!

  11. Aye Nuala its a pity they dont have a good long swill of only our rivers run free,I went to see a wizard the other week to see if he could remove a curse that was put on me years ago, "maybe" says he, "but only if you can remember the exact words of the curse" and without hesitation I replied"I now pronounce you man and wife"

  12. Nuala dont shoot me I,m only the messenger here, but Marie said if "our"Albert doesnt tell her what those things are down at the pitches she will shove one of them where the sun dont shine

  13. Nuala that asshole whos letter in the Irish News re the great hunger and the peoples commeration of it,which annoyed us ,has had his answer today a good few letters putting him in his place, there,s hope yet hon, day 42 I think re Liam Hannayway,and sitll a deathly silence from those who should know better, Fionnuala O Connor penned a first class article today(as she usualy does)

  14. My computers buggarood..wine-poisoning..im gunna see if i can squeeze a glass outa the thievin f%$kr...ive ony RTE/Vatican 1+2 in the gaff TG4 and TV3 so im totally in the dark as to what was goin on in Maghaberry. Until today..just saw on teletext who Mr Hanaway is..my God those SF are self serving turds. Maybe they can't get upetty 'coz no1 would do their dirty work at this stage only turds and trash left there.
    Nuala...I never liked the GAA ever since the hungerstrikes when they valued their liquer licences more than open support for the hungerstrikers..also in Lurgan St Peters GAA who were tormented by DUP/Calvert refusal to give them planning permission and who had to take them to Europe after the UK government backed the biggoted C/Avon council...St Peters+the GAA SLAMMED the INLA for shooting Calvert in 1987...
    Like farmers..the GAA boys don't drive bikes..thats why I go to CELTIC PARK GLASGOW for my singalongs...
    Expect nothing from self servers and yel not be diss-a-point-ed.
    If this Hanaway guy goes the distance it might be the watershed that finally wakes the electorate up and a turning away from the SF/LOYALIST PARTY = Adams and Co.
    Marty once again your humour has been coppy pasted and send worldwide lol

  15. Good to hear that Liam Hannaways hunger strike is now at an end, lets hope the other problems at Magnaberry will be resolved expeditiously, I read in the Irish News that crj were one of the main negotiators in Hannaways dispute and the mans partner has thanked them for such,while I,m delighted that this mans current dispute is at an end, the report that the orginisation ie., crj were involved made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, is crj not a prm front and staffed by well known tout filter tip Mc Carthy, I know nothing about Jim Auld their Ireland administrator, but I,d love to know how they became a principai player in that dispute. definitily more to all this than meets the eye I think

  16. Marty, Albert said he is thinking of going to see CRJ about Marie in relation to those threats (which he has taken very seriously)

    I believe a lot of people were working constantly to end Liam's strike. I'm not quite sure if Jim Auld was working soley under the CRJ banner or as a family intermediary due to his friendship with Kevin.

    Filter tip was probably keeping the handlers informed.
    Marty you encourage me to say these things and then I get told off!

    Read this morning, they are now tormenting Colin Duffy's family!
    Can't see the shinners falling over themselves to sort that one.

  17. Nuala while not wishing to get buried in the detail of who did what,while I reiterate how pleased I am that the lad has ended his hunger strike,I quote the statement from his partner"his strike ended at 7.10pm through long hard mediation from crj the nio and prison staff",it then goes on to say," the family would like to thank in praticular Jim Auld crj whose endless work as the main negotiator on behalf of Liam and our family brought this hunger strike to an end" so plenty there to say that crj were heavily involved and all that that entails! Can we expect Mr Auld and crj then to make another momentous effort on behalf of Colin Duffy,s family and the other republican prisoners I.ll wait to hear of their continuing efforts with baited breath, Marie said she has a soft spot for crj and Albert if you wish yeah its the bog meadows

  18. Marty, Albert has just returned from a meeting, won't say who the meeting was with, just said Marie was mentioned in dispatches.

    He has just read the bit about the bog meadows. He said he finds it impossible to believe Marie has a soft spot in her!