The Skinning of Marian Price: My Letter to Irish Newspapers

George McLaughlin with a letter that he sent to Irish Newspapers expressing deep concerns about the imprisonment of Marian Price. The author has been a prominent campaigner on behalf of prisoners for decades.

A chara,

The continued detention and mistreatment of Marian Price by Owen Paterson and the government of Northern Ireland has slowly but surely raised the ire of Irish-Americans.   From across the sea we have watched her long-term solitary confinement (beginning in May, 2011), her granting of bail twice—only to be revoked by Mr. Paterson because of unseen and unknown evidence and her continued deterioration –both physically and mentally—to the point where she is now a resident in a psychiatric facility, has contracted pneumonia and is deteriorating more rapidly.

What, for God’s sake, do Mr. Paterson and his government and quasi-government backers want?  If he does not have the necessary human compassion to release Ms. Price, he should at least have the necessary intelligence of an adversarial leader to do so.  Does he not understand that the peace process will not be strengthened by these actions?  The republican movement, or any liberation movement throughout history, has necessary pillars to sustain it, to retreat to when things go bad.  Martyrs and heroes provide one of those pillars.

Maybe Mr. Paterson and his invisible and unnamed government backers sitting behind a veil of anonymity should get a stack of republican ballad cd’s and listen to them.  They are not filled with pleas for peace and reconciliation, but rather resistance and the sacrifice of brave and tortured followers.  Soon, we will have the “Ballad of Marian Price” and the like pouring from the pens and mouths of admirers.  If Mr. Paterson despises Ms. Price, and truly wants her and those nationalists and republicans opposed to the Good Friday Agreement to be marginalized, not embraced; to be discouraged, not encouraged; to be forgotten, not commemorated, then he is doing the opposite of what will bring about these effects.

When I journeyed to Belfast as the co-founder and chairman of the New York H-Block/ Armagh Committee more than 30 years ago —with numerous delegations (including Father Daniel Berrigan, S. J. and Mr. Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the US), I and those who accompanied me were trying to save lives, helping to avoid stoking a fire of outrage which was being fueled by governmental intransigence and condescension.  We failed, ten men died and the fires of outrage and resistance grew for 15 more years. 

I and all Irish-Americans of good will, no matter which side we fall on in terms of the Good Friday Agreement, urge Mr. Paterson to release Marian Price, if not out of human compassion, then out of pure political common sense.  If he does not act soon, the fires of rage will be reignited, and only he and those behind the veil of governmental secrecy will be to blame.

Le meas,

George Thomas McLaughlin

Founder and Chair of the NY H-Block/Armagh Committee

Guidance Department Chairman, Tolman High School

150 Exchange Street

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA  02860



  1. Patterson is just doing what every other bloody british lord and master has done to the native Irish who dont bend the knee to England,Marion Price is just doing what generations of Irish men and women have done and that is to refuse to bend the knee,our long and bloody relationship will probably continue until England gives Ireland back to the Irish...

  2. George;

    Patterson is a puppet to MI5, he does what the say, Just as PSF does.
    I firmly believe that MI5 wants another Insurrection because of the economic instability within Europe and the rest of the world.
    People just have to look at the recent, and, ongoing wars in today's modern world, all are driven by , either Oil, or, Gold, or Sheep, The most detested British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in history, sent thousands of her own forces, which included deluded Irishmen, to fight a war in the Malvina's (Falkland Islands) to try and stay in power!, The same woman stated, "Let the Irish Kill the Irish".
    In 1981 she allowed ten brave men to die before she Realised her grave error, The Irish were not for moving!, As for Marian, It would be a very, very grave error, if the British let her die, they seem to think that the I.R.A. is, No Longer viable, They made the same mistake when they brought Internment in via the Orange State, Why should we bomb and kill our own Irish Brothers and Sisters no matter if they are Catholic , Protestant, or, any other faith?. That's exactly want they want us to do, That wont happen, The fight will be on the British mainland financial and political, and, security institutions, that's the only way to beat these people, cripple them!. I sincerely hope that Marian gets better and is released.

  3. The brits don't learn from history. How many countries do you need booted out of to realise invasion is a bad idea. Even those who dread a return to some level of a dirty wee war are beginnng to see that the brits are shaping up to do what they do best, screw it up. They may yet snatch a wee disaster from the jaws of a vctory which Marty Mi6, Gerry's 1+2 and SF have worked so long and hard to hand them.

    Great to see people with integrity out there. ALMOST stiffles the cynicism so long instilled in people. Imagine decent people coming all the way from the USA to try and save lives while Adams and Co. were more interested in ratchettng up the votes. How depressng.

  4. Thank you for writing about Marian's situation and for your work supporting human rights and prison reform. I have been trying to get some help from Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our Prime Minister. Haven't heard anything yet. I cannot believe the United Nations has not demanded her release. I think we should keep writing to them for assistance for Marian and for UK prisons in general. Human rights violations and abuse of prisoners and guards is escalating and we are losing too many people. The UN does have special teams that can help implement changes more effectively than anyone else. Why won't the United Nations assist the UK and Ireland? The "hum" that has been in the news in Ireland, Canada and the US is electronic weapons related- targeting folks as well as infrastructure. Thanks again for your hard work, and for these words in support of Marian.