Support Republican Prisoners - Join the Protests!

Tonight The Pensive Quill carries an appeal from the Cork Prisoners Solidarity Group.

Protest at Daunt Sq Cork City 24th March 3pm

Thirty one years on from the H-Blocks where ten men died for political status, republican prisoners are on dirty protest fighting criminalisation. The current protest has been going on now for nearly a year. Whether you agree with the politics of those imprisoned, held on remand or interned doesn’t matter: the prisoners deserve your support. Rather than underestimating the seriousness of the situation in Maghaberry we need to act now.

The Prisoners face forced strip searching and beatings on a daily basis, going to and from court and visits. And they are subjected to controlled movement otherwise known as a denial of free association on the landings in Roe House.

What they are fighting for is the implementation of the 12th August Agreement: an agreement which brings an end to strip searching through use of a BOSS chair (body orifice security scanner) and sees an end to controlled movement in a phased manner.

At a time when Ireland as a whole is suffering cuts to its living standards more and more struggles are being given life everyday, as opposition to austerity grows. As anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists, these issues cannot be separated. The Left needs to come together with Republicans in a form of symbyosis and do what it can for the republican prisoners in Maghaberry. Their struggle is our struggle.

Support republican prisoners, join the protests or organise one!

(The Prisoner Solidarity Group is an ‘independent ‘ group of activists in Cork city formed to organise protests in solidarity with ALL republican prisoners and to encourage unity among republicans and the left but especially to highlight the ongoing struggle in Maghaberry prison.

As a group we oppose internment by section 30 in the 26 counties, or internment by remand in the occupied 6 counties, and we call for the repatriation of any republican prisoners held overseas. Due to the worsening situation in Maghaberry Prison we decided to put together an independent group as we feel the best way forward for all concerned is a united independent campaign to call for the implementation of the 12th of August agreement which was brokered in 2010 but has yet to be implemented
by the Northern Ireland Prison Service/NIPS.)

PSG-Cork City


  1. Thanks for carrying this AM much appreciated....

  2. PSG Cork

    good job in highlighting this important issue

  3. PSG Cork good on you for getting involved in this issue,not the most popular issue in the 26,so its heartening to see that the rebel county still has people with the spirit of freedom.

  4. Best of luck with this. I won't be able to travel to Cork that weekend but hope there is a good turn out.

    As Marty said, this not an easy issue to highlight in the 26, but I am glad that something is being done.

    Hopefully we can organise something like this in Wexford.

  5. I was browsing the web site of different human right organizations to see what is their stance on this issue.
    Just to name a few:
    Amnisty International Ireland
    Pat Finucane Centre
    British Irish Rights Watch

    there silence on this issue is unsetting.

  6. Andre,
    On International Women's Day we stood outside Belfast City Hall with a banner and leaflets highlighting the ongoing abuse of Marion Price.
    On the platform were a host of speakers from women's organisations.
    These women on the platform were highlighting the marginalisation of women and abuse on a global scale.
    They drooned on about women in Palestine, Iran ,Iraq, Afghanistan and they never uttered a word about the abuse here.
    Not only did they not utter a word, they looked everywhere only at our banner, to be fair so did the Lord Mayor and the logistics officer Bix Mc Farlane, both of whom seemed to be permantely transfixed on some heavenly being or maybe they were just cloud watching.
    I think Bernadette McAliskey called it right when she said.
    'Human's Rights abuse here and accountability are at least eight years apart.
    We got very little and that little did not include proper human rights legislation or indeed the cherished 'Bill of Rights'.
    Nothing changed here Andre, we just got fancier carpets to brush it all under.
    Fair play to Cork!

  7. Nuala when you see how quickly they moved to shaft Mary McArdle you need to ask yourself that with friends like these who needs enemies!At least they waited untill international womens day was past.

  8. Marty,

    As for Mary McArdle, I dislike the way she is being targeted because she is an ex-prisoner. SF will of course claim it is another great victory but it is a climb down in the face of DUP pressure. I don’t believe any job should be off limits to former combatants if they have the ability. At the same time I think there has to be great sensitivity in how these appointments are made. The Travers family have every right to feel aggrieved and will see McArdle’s appointment as in your face. SF could have handled it better at the start. Then when the controversy started the gruff ignorant way of dealing with it by some in the party poured petrol on the flames.

    There is a human tragedy lying behind this story which the family of Mary Travers have given expression to. Alongside that there is a lot of politicking going on about the past. The TUV used it to slap ‘the Catholics’ about. The unionists are still intent in saying the IRA were the sole culprits. But what was more insensitive – Mary McArdle being given a job which she was apparently capable of doing or Willie McCrea sharing a public platform with Billy Wright?

  9. The daft thing about this whole charade is that if qsf had for talk sake dumped Ramsey done nothing,and got Mary McArdle elected to the assembly then there wouldnt be a word about her past, the dup and unionst benches are full of people who I,m sure would not like to have their recent past investigated,qsf by removing Mary from this post have shown how willing they are to don the sackcloth and ashes Paisley spoke of,its no wonder they havent the balls to push for Marians release.

  10. From Maria José McGeough:

    Dear Friends and Supporters of Sinn Fein:

    If somebody could tell me what I should do? I'm trying to get in touch with Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein leader, but he refuses. Why? I cannot understand. I just try to ask him to negotiate the release of my husband Gerry McGeough.

    I have never tried to attack him. Whenever I was begging for his undestanding it was only to make justice in favour of somebody who is not guilty. In my country nobody understands why the seniors of Sinn Féin don't want to negotiate the freedom of one of their former party colleagues. Politicians should serve and help people.

    For me politicians are not just for "the exercise of power." The ultimate purpose of politics is the ethical sense, the possibility of work to achieve the goals that is a benefit for the community. Behind McGeough case there is the fulfillment of the Weston Park Agreement, there is the justice for the Republicans that accept the peace process.

    It is not so important that Gerry Adams doesn't want to receive me. What is important is his work for each of the Republicans who support the peace process. What is important is the release of my husband Gerry McGeough.

  11. Maria give a little whistle it worked for Gerry

  12. From Helen McClafferty 13/03/2012

    A Judge ruled yesterday that NIPS must review its decision to refuse permission, and set out a range of factors that NIPS must take into account. In light of his comments NIPS withdrew original letter to Mr McGeough which explained why his application had been refused and replaced it this morning with a further letter which addressed fully all the points that the judge had asked NIPS to cover. In these circumstances Mr Justice Stephens took the view that the original case had been overtaken by events and that if the new decision letter was to be challenged there would need to be fresh proceedings. The decision to refuse therefore stands.

  13. André Poulin

    I can understand why those organizations have not become publicly involved at this stage. Firstly Amnesty HQ are based in London and are part financed by the UK Government. Throughout the Troubles Amnesty steered clear of NI with exception to US members who took personal interest. Amnesty has only ever designated one person to have been a "prisoner of conscience" (Damien Austin). Even in some of the most physical days of internment and beatings Amnesty stepped through very tactfully but US members highlighted what was going on.

    Charlie McMenimen was a 14 year old boy when he was savagely beaten and imprisoned on false charges --ultimately he cleared his name in recent years and evidence of his beatings came to light. Only then did Amnesty voice concern at what had happened to him --but never when it would have mattered.

    In comparison BIRW is an excellent organization but very small. If they are approached and case made and they have resources they will take matters on. They have a proven track record in some of the most controversial cases from the Conflict regardless of politics or religion.

    Perhaps people should concern themselves with the NI Human Rights Commission. On basis of human rights abuses of the past both the SDLP and SF saw the Commission as a necessary body to act as 'watch dog' to human rights matters such as the Prisons and to be an effective avenue where complaints could be ventilated. Part reasoning for this was that The Troubles taught us that when people have no means of being heard they can become violent to be heard or respected.

    The NIHRC bemoans its miserable £1.6 million budget. Lord Morrow has quite accurately complained that they spend their budget on themselves (tens of thousands on expensive catering, glossy brochures, round the world travel and accommodation expenses and on top of that hospitality of invited guests and friends of the Commission). I agree with Lord Morrow here because from year to year they have allocated a miserly 3 to 5% of their annual budgets on actual case work (not one human rights victim has ever been given the price of the bus fare to court let alone a stay in the Hilton Hotel). The Commission was hailed to be the jewel in the crown for successful Nationalist negotiators -if it did not allocate so much of its budget to publicity and hype what else would it be.

    Maria José McGeough

    I understand where you are coming from and your lack of desire to grind any political axe with anyone. Unfortunately Adams and SF likely view you as someone they would rather not see or hear from. In reality, SF are as effective in 'Government' as an unused condom is to safe sex. They are passive participants to Diplock Courts and any human rights abuses in the prisons.


  14. From Helen McLafferty:

    The following are replies Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív received to parliamentary questions he recently put down in Dáil Éireann.

    Question No. 127

    Parliamentary Question - Dept Details

    To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the reason he is not pressing that an agreement made between the Irish Government and the British Government be implemented in full, and that as agreed at Weston Park that no further prosecutions and consequently prison sentences will be imposed on those who committed offences before 10 April 1998; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

    Éamon Ó Cuív.

    * For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 28th February, 2012.

    Ref No: 10899/12


    Proposed draft legislation by the British Government to deal with this specific issue as referred to in paragraph 20 of the Weston Park accord was formally withdrawn by the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain MP, on 11 January 2006. The draft legislation, the Northern Ireland (Offences) Bill, had been opposed by the majority of the Northern Ireland Assembly parties and the Secretary of State was compelled to withdraw the legislation when the only supporting party, Sinn Féin, could not accept certain aspects of the proposed legislation. As the Government was committed to introduce proposals only in tandem with the British government and in accordance with the consensus of the democratically elected Assembly parties, the withdrawal of the Bill meant that the proposals for dealing with the matter in this jurisdiction were also withdrawn.

  15. Tiarna,
    thanks for this well informed response. For me ,as an outside observer, the conditions of the Republican Prisoners is a test of the value of the GFA.

  16. Was at a powerful and moving powerpoint presentation in the Conway Mill last night,re the launch of a booklet on the murder of Sam Marshall by british forces,legal and illegal,the testimonies from family and survivors was both moving and clinical the location of cars,and undercover soldiers,shots fired was all pinpointed,a powerful indictment of the states involvement in this murder,came home and watched ch 4,s killing fields of Sri Lanka ,conclusion the bastards run the world sin é

  17. Helen I kind of get the feeling that Gerry is being held hostage to paragraph 20 the Brits have withdrawn that part of the Weston Pk Agreement ie para 20 by sos Hain because the only supporting party ie sf "could not accept certain aspects of the accord" now what exactly were those certain aspects?was it that those involved in state sponsored murders like Bloody Sunday Ballymurphy, shoot to kill etc would be immune from prosecution,and because the shinners didnt play ball on this the brits have locked Gerry up as a warning, is this a plausible?

  18. Nuala,

    That is very disappointing about the City Hall. I wish these people would do the decent thing. Bik has to know that what is happening to Marian Price is wrong. The Shinners must be hoping for a quick trial and a jail sentence for her on the other charges so that the pressure is taken off them. That’s the way they think.

  19. Mackers,

    It was quite an eye opener watching the bold Bik.
    He looked as if somewhere in the wide blue yonder had much more appeal.
    The lord mayor just looked how the lord mayor always looks, lost!
    Patrica Mc Keown acknowledged Marian in her address.
    But these days Patrica would have more balls than Bik and Co.

  20. Support Republican Prisoners


    I think SF felt it could still mask its abandonment of republicanism if it could still loudly demand inquiries into the Brit past even though with Adams denying his own past as he made the demand of the Brits to admit to theirs. For that reason neither the Brits nor anybody else took him seriously on truth recovery. SF’s demand for an international commission chaired by a Martian with a Jupiter issued passport was always going to invite ridicule. For SF to have done a deal that would bring the OTRs back and draw a line under the Brit past, would have denied them the possibility of demanding half the truth. Now they are exposed on it because the Brits are demonstrating at all times who is in charge, who calls the shots. Even the other evening on the news McGuinness when talking about the Queen acknowledged he was the deputy first minister. I think Gerry McGeough was jailed simply because he had spoken out against the British PSNI and it punished him for it. It showed that it could and that McGuinness or no one else could put manners on it.

    I knew Sam Marshall. He was a solid blanket man. Knew him on remand and went through my whole time on the blanket in the same wing. He was set up and there will be no subpoena issued for anything that might be revealing about his killing.

  21. Sam,s murderers will I agree probably never face justice Anthony, but the spirit the family and survivors showed the other evening .like the old saying its not the size of the dog in the fight ,its the size of the fight in the dog, these people have the grit and determination to see this through, hopefully for you old comrades sake the world will know the truth that Sam Marshall was murdered at the behest of the british government,and those who would have called him comrade who now welcome kind words from the queen and accept her pension and priviliges ie qsf remain as they do in regards to former comrades completly silent

  22. Nuala,

    It is very disappointing that so many at the heart of the prisoner issue can pay scant attention to the same issue repeating itself. I would love to talk to Bik about it. I know at Jimmy Drumm’s funeral he was the only one to openly talk to me. The eyes of the thought police were on them all and you could see people literally swerving to avoid us, people who would normally talk were the eyes not on them. I was with Marian Price at it and only one person spoke to her as well. Just before it we had been seen by SF watchers having coffee and we guessed that the word had spread. That was why the ostracism was so total. Bik alone broke it with me, and one other person broke it for Marian. And we positioned ourselves just ten yards down from the entrance of the chapel so that the cortege had to pass us en route. They all saw us. Strange what groupthink can do.

  23. Broy harriers in the making Anthony a cara ,seen and experienced it at Bridget Hannon,s funeral.short memories I,m afraid,or guilty concsience,s

  24. Marty,

    Sam was a stalwart of H4. He endured a lot. There were a few young guys like him from Lurgan who did their remand in the cages and were then thrown into the blocks and stayed there throughout. Greta guys them all. It was tragic that Sam who suffered so much got so little back once released. There is a story to be told about that wing and all the guys in it. Some of them are with the SF camp today which is unfortunate given what they put in during those years.

    It seems so contradictory. But nothing can take away from the determination they displayed and the suffering they endured. Despite all the disagreements and fall outs I still feel a bond with all who did the blanket.

  25. Thats the humanity in you Anthony, I wonder if it would be reciprocated

  26. Good to see such an interesting discussion was created around this

    just want to draw attention to a very good article written by the irps on the current campaign for the pows,well worth a read...

  27. Marty,

    Reciprocated? Somehow I doubt it. They are not really generous or benevolent are they?

  28. Or socialist or republican Anthony!

  29. 'The Prisoner Solidarity Group held a very successful demonstration in Cork City today(saturday) to highlight the current situation in Maghaberry prison and the plight of ALL republican political prisoners in this country and abroad. Over 20 comrades from éirígí, 32CSM, RSF, RNU and independent republicans, socialists attended the event. There was great interest from the public and over 200 hundred leaflets ...were distributed to passers by. The demonstration also drew the attention of the special branch who applied the usual tactics and began to take names and addresses from those in attendance. The branchmen showed familiar traits when they attempted to illegally and forcibly search one of the demonstrators and also grabbed another demonstrators phone from him while he was filming the incident and proceeded to search through the phone. Despite this harassment all in attendance stood their ground and remained on the streets long after the branchmen had left. It was another great show of unity from all groups in attendance and the Prisoner Solidarity Group will continue to bring this issue to the attention of the Cork public. BEIR BUA..'.

    (taken from the facebook page)

  30. Short Statement from the Family & Friends of Republican Prisoners Maghaberry on David Ford's announcement today in Stormont. 26.03.12

    Family & Friends of Republican Prisoners Maghaberry cautiously welcome David Ford's announcement today stating that he intends to initiate a pilot scheme based on new technologies with the intention of replacing the out of date policy of degrading strip-searches.

    However, we would raise concerns over his inability to give a clear time-line for the introduction of these new technologies, especially in light of his departments failure to implement the August 2010 Agreement which specifically deals with the issues of strip-searching and controlled movement.

    We urge David Ford to introduce the proposed pilot scheme entering and leaving the prison without further delay.

    We call on all interested parties to keep pressure on David Ford to bring the ongoing crisis in Maghaberry to a speedy resolution.

    Mandy Duffy PRO
    Family & Friends of Republican Prisoners Maghaberry.

  31. Mandy

    The problem with ford is, he is a puppet under the British regime, just as SF are, the (SF) never mention anything about all those STILL INTERNED when speaking a load of crap at stormont, but, lets see what happens now, maybe they wil make the EX TORY PARTY TREASURER will take Davids Fords Position, mind you, It would cost him, £750,000. STOP THE STRIP SEARCHES, STOP INTERNMENT, RELEASE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS.
    You Are All Doing A Fine JOb Mandy, also the PSG Cork.

  32. The test for Ford will be the speedy introduction of the new technology with a view to ending the protest. If, however, he is proposing some new scanning device, not covered in the 2010 agreement, then we will have to await the prisoner's verdict on all of this. Ford is not in a position to impose a solution that does not have to support and consent of the political prisoners.

  33. It is going to be interesting to see how hard qsf push to have this technology implemented and how quickly,