Dogged by a Punitive Regime

Gerard Hodgins with a short letter protesting the treatment by Maghaberry Prison management of the wife of republican political prisoner, Seamus Kearney.

18 January 2014

I went to visit my friend Seamus Kearney in Maghaberry prison last Saturday along with his partner Fiona and another friend. On the way through the search the dog indicated that my friend had contraband and so he had to relinquish his visit.

We handled it in a mature and accepting manner and no aggression ensued between either of us or the prison officers involved: Fiona muttered to me 'that dog should be put down,' by way of commiseration with our friend, and she and I went on in to visit Seamus.

Today, 18/01/2014, one week later, Fiona returned to Maghaberry to visit Seamus only to be told she was banned from visiting the prison and could not see Seamus because she had the week previously: “threatened a dog”.

Fiona can no longer visit her partner, is this justice?


  1. The issue has since been resolved and the woman can now visit her husband again. But that is probably thanks to the Irish News and UTV which highlighted it after Gerard pushed it. And it does nothing to remove the grounds for believing that the institutional instinct is what it always was - to punish.

  2. Thanks for the update Anthony.
    Pleased to hear the situation has been regularised. Fair dues to Gerard.

    I prefer to believe that the institutional instinct is fear, fear and the 'system's' tendency to self-preservation manifest as a need to dominate. That need for domination gets acted out in punishments.

  3. The next time she is on a visit she should maybe carry in a book on Korean cooking esp the section on DOGS...Good to hear that this has been resolved.

  4. Margeretta D'arcy went to prison last week because she had the temerity to walk along a runway in Shannon airport. Despite being 79 years old and terminally ill, there is no chance of so called republicans rallying to her cause. Radio UnFree Eireann !

  5. It's strange how the searching is carried out in Maghaberry the dog just circles round a person.

    Dogs, even trained dogs can pick up and be distracted by another scent.

    As far as reliability or safety goes surely there must be a big question mark over this type of searching.

    Fair play to all who raised this as God knows how many this has happened to.

  6. Fair play to Gerard and this site for keeping issues like this alive. All the debate about where republicanism goes from here its important not to forget those languishing in prison. So again fair play.

  7. Political Prisoner, Christine Connors currently on remand in Hydebank hasn't had a family visit since the end of Novemeber. They said her mother 'was seen passing her something'. Christine and her Clann were ordered to accept closed visits but refused. She hasn't seen her family in months.