Martin Corey – Irish Political Prisoner Held Without Charge, Trial

Sandy Boyer with a piece on Maghaberry internee Martin Corey. It first featured on The Wild Geese on 1st July 2013.

Martin Corey has spent more than three years in Northern Ireland’s Maghaberry Prison. Although he hasn’t been charged with any crime, there is little prospect that he will be released any time in the foreseeable future. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, a British Cabinet Minister, has revoked his license – parole in American terms - which means that he can be imprisoned indefinitely without a trial, sentence or release date.

Martin Corey received a life sentence in December 1973, when he was 19 years old for killing two members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Northern Ireland police force, in an IRA operation. He served 19 years and was released in June 1992.

Martin Corey returned home to Lurgan, County Armagh. He started a business, formed an ongoing relationship, and became a highly respected member of the local community.

The police appeared at Martin Corey’s door and took him away to prison in the early hours of April 16, 2010, almost 18 years after his release.

His younger brother Joe described what happened:

They came to the door at around 6 a.m. There was about 12 of them standing there when I answered the door. They asked for Martin and told me the Secretary of State had revoked his licence. They gave no reason for this. There was no struggle. He just got up and walked out with them. The brought him to Maghaberry, where he has been ever since.

He was informed that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had revoked his license because he was a “security risk.” Later it was claimed that “he was involved with dissident republicans.”

The Northern Ireland Parole Commission, which is appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held secret hearings where neither Corey nor his lawyers could see the evidence. They returned him to prison, saying he was "a risk to the public."

A Belfast judge ordered him released on unconditional bail on July 9th because he was being held on the basis of secret evidence. His family rushed to the prison to bring him home.

But while Martin Corey was sitting in the prison reception area and they were waiting outside, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland overruled the judge and ordered him re-arrested.

His lawyers have announced that they will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. But this is a time-consuming process that can consume a year or more.

'Martin Corey was released by the courts.'
In 2011, Martin Corey told The Lurgan Mail that:

I have been in prison for nearly a year and a half, and I still haven’t been given a reason. They have put forward a number of allegations against me, and I’m not able to defend myself against any of them. They say I have been seen speaking to known republicans, and that I visited a number of houses. What does that matter? It doesn’t mean I’ve done anything wrong. They have absolutely nothing on me, and that’s why they haven’t charged me.
His partner, Lynda Magee, said:

He does not know what he has done and has been told nothing about why he is being held He has already served his time and he was willing to do it. But now he is being held for no reason.

Martin Corey is a member of Republican Sinn Fein, a legal political party throughout Ireland. They are opposed to the Good Friday Agreement because they believe it perpetuates British rule in Northern Ireland. Republican Sinn Fein is almost universally believed to be affiliated with the Continuity IRA in the same way that Sinn Fein was traditionally affiliated with the IRA. This can be used by British authorities to justify imprisoning Martin Corey because he is a “dissident republican” and a threat to the peace process.

But people on both sides of the Atlantic who have little or no sympathy with Martin Corey’s politics are demanding that he be released.

Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, met the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in the Dáil (Irish parliament) and urged him to free Martin Corey. Adams stated that 'Martin Corey was released by the courts… [He] should be released and I put it very strongly … that this should be done.

At its last convention, the AOH passed a resolution:

that the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America condemns Owen Patterson [the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland] for the continued imprisonment of Martin Corey and urge that be released immediately on unconditional bail.
Like Martin Corey, Marian Price was imprisoned without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence until she was released in May after her heath was all but broken. They are the most recent targets of the ongoing policy of interning political prisoners.

Martin Corey is only one more victim of the permanent human rights emergency in Northern Ireland. Just in the last few months:
  • Stephen Murney has been charged with "possession of materials of use to terrorists" for taking photographs of the Northern Ireland police in action.
  • The police tried to intimidate a key witness in order to prevent Brendan McConville and John Paul Wooten from appealing their conviction.
  • In May, John Downey was suddenly charged with a 1982 bombing when he went to London from his home in Donegal.
We will need to build campaigns for each of them. If Marian Price is at home today, it is only because there was a very public, very determined campaign to set her free both in Ireland and throughout the world.

As essential as campaigns for individual prisoners are, it’s no longer enough to campaign for one or another of the political prisoners. Both in Ireland and the United States we need to try to broaden our campaign to include as many prisoners as possible and challenge the whole attack on basic human rights. Otherwise, there will be more political prisoners in the very near future.

As Northern Ireland civil rights leader Bernadette Devlin McAliskey put it:

The Good Friday Agreement promised and end to this abuse of human rights and democracy.  It is long past time it delivered on this promise. It is also time the international power players who created this deformity of democracy held it to account.


  1. Of all the injustices meted out by perfidious albion on Irishmen and women,the continuing detention of Martin Corey is machiavellian in its operation,the secrecy surrounding Martin,s internment speaks volumes not about the danger Martin Corey poses to the "peace process" but the weakness of the evidence against this man, we were promised a new beginning,and an island of equals neither of which has materialised,the loyal orders are still marching where they are not wanted,funded by the Irish govt and wait for it the european "peace3"to the tune of £4.5 million, the internment of republicans and secret courts and secret evidence ,the only thing missing is the torture ,but hey give it time and I,m sure we may see that again, Martin Corey,s internment is clear and unquestionable proof that nothing in this corrupt statelet has changed since its formation,other than now its bolstered by Broy harriers in the form of quisling called $inn £einds..

  2. On the 11th January 2006 , the then Secretary for state for Norn Iron , "Peter Hain" , withdrew Paragraph 20 of the Weston Park Agreement.

    I think this is the third time I have posted this , just to make people aware that no matter how much they call for Para 20 to be implemented , it will fall on deaf british ears .

    Why has the weston park accord (20) not been implimented?.
    This is the initial paragraph 20 weston park accord.

    20. Both Governments also recognise that there is an issue to be
    addressed, with the completion of the early release scheme, about
    supporters of organisations now on cease-fire against whom there are
    outstanding prosecutions, and in some cases extradition proceedings, for
    offences committed before 10 April 1998. Such people would, if convicted,
    stand to benefit from the early release scheme. The Governments accept
    that it would be a natural development of the scheme for such prosecutions
    not to be pursued and will as soon as possible, and in any event before the
    end of the year, take such steps as are necessary in their jurisdictions to
    resolve this difficulty so that those concerned are no longer pursued.

    This is why.

    GFA Weston Park Accord (20)

    Le gach deá ghuí,
    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.

    I can't find any publications in any newspapers stating that it was withdrawn , unless someone can point me to One newspaper.

    I might be wrong , but I'm Reading into this that a deal was struck between the British and Irish Governments to NOT IMPLEMENT Para 20.

    That is the reason The Brits are now Arresting Ex Combatants for something which happened prior to 10/04/1998 , although most of them completed exorbitant time behind bars for Fighting a war of Freedom.

    But The Brits came up with a wild card , SECRET EVIDENCE , this is being run by MI5 and there touts.

    Martins case and the others mentioned should be brought before the European courts of Human Rights , The quicker the better, The Longer the wait, the more time they stay behind bars for committing no crime. The old saying , Committed No Crime , But Served My Time.

  3. Found link to when Para 20 was discontinued. On BBC Timeline Northern Ireland Assembly.

    scrol down to 11 January 2006

  4. He epitomises the definition of an uncompromising Irish Republican in a world where it is used all too loosely..Keep the faith Martin Corey, the TRUTH will eventually set YOU free! Beir Bua!

  5. good job Sandy. These issues take on even more sinister meaning in the light of the exposure of the HET today. Policing is political and riddled with injustice and bias

  6. British internment of Irish men and women continues only now it carries the imprimatur of those who sit in Stormont oblivious to what is happening to those like Martin Corey. Silence equals complicity and mealy-mouthed protestations to higher authority that "something should be done" by those like Adams do not qualify as speaking out. I reckon it's more to get themselves of the hook for going along with a system that permits all this. The reality is that while such things as the internment of Martin Corey remain tolerable to those who sit in the British administration then such things will continue. Britain needs to be clearly informed that sitting in a government that permits such abuses that were supposedly consigned to history is not an option - only then will this type of thing stop


  7. Source BBC News N.Ireland.


    NI Policing Board declares 'no confidence' in HET
    Historical Enquiries Team
    The HET was reviewed by HMIC

    Board to discuss report on HET
    Historical murders team criticised
    HET critical report reaction.
    The Northern Ireland Policing Board has said it has no

    confidence in the leadership of the Historical

    Enquiries Team (HET).

    It follows Wednesday's critical report into the HET by

    Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

    The board has asked the chief constable to review the

    management arrangements of the HET immediately.

    The board said it was its view that all military case

    reviews by the HET are now suspended.

    In a statement the Policing Board chair Anne Connolly

    said Thursday's discussions centred on agreeing a

    course of action "that deals with the very serious

    organisational, governance and oversight issues

    outlined by HMIC".

    "The board has no confidence in the leadership of the

    Historical Enquiries Team and the chief constable has

    been asked to review and action the management

    arrangements of the unit with immediate effect.

    "It is the view of the Board that all military case

    reviews by the HET are suspended.

    "The HET should continue the process of conducting all

    other reviews but it should not finalise any cases

    until all the necessary reforms are completed."

    The Policing Board also announced that the

    recommendations made by the HMIC will be implemented

    by a working group made up of political

    representatives and independent figures.

    The group will also review "Police Service of Northern

    Ireland failures to respond promptly to issues raised

    in relation to the work of the HET".

    The group will begin its work next week and a report

    on progress is expected later in the year.


    Every last one of the EX RUC should be sacked, Its

    obvious its only Republican cases they are interested

    in, How many ex Loyalist Prisoners have had their

    License revoked? , None that I have heard of.
    They are bypassing all cases of collusion , all cases

    of Shoot to kill, All cases of British Military


    So much for a so called Police force for all.