On Bail in Jail

We do not support putting people away in prison because of intelligence or because of some political point of view and we are convinced that she has been detained without trial because of that by the secretary of state  ...  She doesn't even have her own counsel to represent her in relation to the intelligence report. They appoint a counsel, an outside barrister, to represent her on that - her own defence counsel can't even look at the intelligence report. How is that due process? Alban Maginness

A discussion yesterday on BBC’s The Politics Show, illustrated just how voluble the public discourse around the ongoing detention of Marian Price has become. To the extent that there is a discourse rather than the issue being suffocated under a blanket of silence, is the outcome of persistent campaigning by people with no power pushing the issue right under the noses of the powerful.  Included amongst them are many former prisoners who are determined that British injustice will be confronted whenever it shows its ugly face.

Four people from the DUP, Alliance, Sinn Fein and the SDLP took part in the studio discussion about the matter. The most assertive, even aggressive, advocate on behalf of Marian Price’s was the SDLP’s Alban Maginness. He turned Peter Weir of the DUP inside out, not mincing his words and hammering the idea of political detention, which he rightly called internment. Mairtin O Muilleoir of Sinn Fein also challenged the British decision to hold Price without trial. While not as passionate as Maginness, he too effectively rubbished the DUP case and was critical of British state policy on the matter.

With the Alliance Party you always get the impression that if the respective governments in Ireland and Britain intended to introduce driving on the other side of the road in line with wider European society, Alliance would want to do it gradually, a thousand cars a day. They would convince themselves it would be the right way to proceed oblivious to the pandemonium it would cause. But on this issue the party’s chief whip Stewart Dickson, try as he might wish to sit in the middle of the road, could not conceal his unease about the Price detention.

Weir alone was pleased, but then they his ilk always is. Claiming he would not be ‘crying too many tears’ at Price's incarceration, he was prevented going ecstatic only by the deftness of Maginness taking the wind out of his sails he each time he opened his trap. None of the DUP arguments square up. The notion that the judges only granted bail on the two charges against Price because they knew she was in jail anyway made no sense. The opposite is more likely to be true. Why bother granting bail to a person who can’t avail of it because they are already in prison? Marian Price was given bail because the judges involved considered her to pose no threat on the basis of the evidence before them. Simple as.

When due process kicked in last year and Marian Price got bail, the British dived in with the foul tackle for which she, not they, got the red card. Despite being 'on bail' since she has in fact been in jail, due process ignored, at the mere stroke of an unaccountable British politician’s pen. Journalistic bane of Tory policy in Ireland, Eamonn McCann has since commented that ‘the continuing imprisonment of Marian Price in Maghaberry is a scandal and would be seen more widely in this light were it not for her politics.’

Paterson in overruling the decision of the bail court in Bishop Street Derry made a clear political intervention into the realm of the judicial, belying any notion of a separation of powers. Due process was duly subverted and a politician not a judge, committed Marian Price to prison without trial, a policy Paterson’s Tory antecedents under Heath and Maudling introduced in the North with disastrous consequences.

Most people are out on bail but in this case courtesy of British malpractice Marian Price is in on bail.


  1. From Sandy Boyer:

    From Eamonn McCann

    Eamonn McCann will be meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) with activists in Liverpool to map out a series of actions in Lancashire to bring pressure on the Westminster Government to free Marian.

    Bernadette McAliskey, Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six and a representative of the Glasgow Muslim community will be speaking at a Glasgow rally on June 8th. Other rallies alongthe same lines across Scotland will follow.

    Eamonn McCann and former Guantanamoprisoner Moazzam Begg will be speaking in Londonon July 5th.

    A petition with thousands of signatures will be presented to the Speaker of the Stormont Assemby on aday next week to be organised by the SDLP.

  2. Yip Anthony once again amongst the most vociferous in the call for justice for Marian are the SDLP, I watched that programme yesterday morning and Alban Mc Guinness was excellent ,Weir was as expected a bigot who would probably be jumping for joy if they were to hang Marian,Martin O Muilleor spoke well but qsf have left themselves a mile behind in this whole prison debate,as senior partners in the govt they could and should have shown backbone and some sense in the way former comrades were being treated,instead they have become almost as watery as the that joke of a party the Allinatrance party,Marian,s internment is a warning to all of us that ignoring this issue is a dangerous mistake to all who have stood against the establishment in the past, Martin Niemoller,s quotation comes to mind here,"First they came for the socialists" if we slightly change the wording it fits what can and probably will happen here ,First they came for Gerry, Marian and Martin, we cant afford to do nothing,because dissident or not that knock can come to any nationalists door..as yer man said "they havent gone away ye know"

  3. at last, things are beginning to move now, a big thankyou to Alban, He is a very astute and honest down to earth polotician, He detests violince of any sort, maybe he can be the major link for JUSTICE for Marian and the rest who are incarcerated under Internment in this modern day, but alas, every country can use it in a conflict of war, BUT, according to the British , The war has ended, SO WHY INTERNMENT?, No please dont answer me on that one, WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER.
    A Massive thank you to, Eamonn McCann , Bernadette McAliskey, Paddy Hill, I remember MISS DEVLIN very well in the auld days, I lived with some of the Birmingham six, IN BIRMINGHAM, if any off them reads this, they will remember, Balsall Heath, also Dinger Bell, who wanted to have a go at me, then they will know who i am, I knocked to lumps of shite out of a so called scottish loyalist hardman, called, Rubber legs, well, he has them now, also thanks to, Moazzam Begg , also interned by the USA in gautama bay, last but not least to, the Glasgow Muslim community , and yourself Mackers.

  4. Itsjustmacker,

    All I am doing is drawing attention to it. The heavy lifting is being done by those people on the ground, pounding the streets


    I would have missed that programme only for you giving me the heads up in one of your comments.


    ‘C'mon the SDLP!!’

    Indeed. You would imagine Gerry Kelly would be fronting this rather than Alban.