Maghaberry Screws Beat Prisoners

Via the IRPWA a statement from Roe 4 Republican Prisoners Maghaberry 11/08/16 on prison staff brutality.

Statement from Republican Prisoners Roe 4 Maghaberry 11/08/16
Imprisoned In Maghaberry

Republican Prisoners wish to make it clear that what occurred on the Republican Wing yesterday, 10th August, was no less than a co-ordinated physical attack.

Two separate incidents in which two governors were physically involved resulted in two prisoners being struck and manhandled whilst three others were brutally assaulted.

This was the combination of months of harassment and intimidation against Republican Prisoners.

This was not an insignificant or spontaneous incident. This was a co-ordinated attack carried out by former H-Block screws and Crumlin Road screws, former UDR men and others who have regularly abused and intimidated Republican Prisoners on the landings.

Seven Governors were present on the wing while Republican Prisoners were locked down for five hours with no access to health care, solicitors, toilets or food before being escorted to cells by dozens of screws clad in riot gear. PSNI members also arrived on the landing whilst medics whispered and collaborated with the security governor. Clearly the “supposedly impartial” PSNI is keen to act in unison with the jail administration to oppress Republican Prisoners.

It is obvious that the Six County Prison Service is determined to break the spirit and resolve of Republican Prisoners and they will happily resort to the old tactic of physical violence but we remain today unbowed and unbroken Republican Political Prisoners.

Republican Prisoners
Roe 4


  1. Always at least two sides to a story.

  2. Steve,

    had the title been Maghaberry prisoners beat screws would you have commented in the same way?

    I have vast experience of prison life and never recall the NIO or the Prison Service say in their side of the story that prisoners were beaten. It is less a case of there being two sides to the story but which side of the story we are on. Experience being a good teacher, we have little choice but to believe the prisoners.

  3. a little Time to think it over.
    a little Time to see it Right.

  4. Do the screws wear body cameras? Or should they be made to if not?

  5. Lazy orange bastards good for nothing but opening and closing doors all day. Wives keep them there on overtime almost as long as the prisoners.

  6. Once again history repeats itself claims of abuse will be ignored until retaliation is meted out i.e dead screws, then unionists as Steve two sides there will use the corpses as propaganda tools. Hand working men gunned down after work blah, blah, blah. Pay attention now and action might be avoided

  7. AM,

    But how can I 'choose' a side without knowing the whole story? Why would I choose to believe the word of those incarcerated for potential acts of violence, or activities in the commission of?

    David Higgins,

    I would not be so ghoulish. Not something we do, using the dead as propaganda. We will leave that to Republicans with the Hunger Strikers.


    That's just lazy sectarianism. How do you know the screws are not RC?

  8. David,

    that was a pattern established during the blanket protest although Pacelli Dillon who was killed in 1976 was targeted months before the protest and its associated brutality. Nevertheless, as Laurence McKeown said in a lengthy Irish Times interview this week that within the jail among the protesting prisoners "Our view was that this would stop the brutality in jail.”. It didn't stop the brutality and is as unlikely to stop it in future and is ultimately a worse form of violence than that it purports to retaliate against. Once this discourse of cyclical violence is introduced it is important that it does not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Was there a media that could manage to detach itself from a self-perceived role as a guardian of the peace process, we would see a situation whereby it would rush to investigate allegations of institutional abuse against a body with a long history of such abuse rather than throwing copious quantities of time and energy over Gerry McGeough's comments about judges being traitors.

  9. Steve,

    you know the history of the story. You know that brutality was widespread during the blanket protest and that the only people telling the truth about it were the prisoners rather than the prison authorities. Can you point to one allegation of brutality that was completely fabricated? Can you point to one instance where the administration admitted brutality outside of the 1983 escape when it was impossible to hide the dog bites on the prisoners who were not escapees?

    Even of for the sake of discussion we restrict ourselves to the latest allegation from Maghaberry and opt to block out from our minds any history of violence that preceded it, I am still asking you the question would your "two sides" response have been the same had the title of the piece been Maghaberry Prisoners Beat Screws?

  10. Its surprising that Unionists would even want these torturers living in their communities. Do they think they suddenly become kind and empathetic outside of work hours?

  11. AM,

    Yes. No matter what there is always at least two sides of the story.

    If it happened, what if any was the provocation? What proceeded it? Regardless of whether you or I have a point of view, implying this was all one parties 'fault' is childish, but I guess human.

    Are the same screws in Maghaberry as were in Long Kesh in the 80's?Is it the same regime?

    Seldom do people wake up one day and decide to be cunts for no reason. Still, as I said before, prisoners should be allowed much more avenues to relieve tension than clearly is the present case. It's foolish otherwise.

    Why would screws want to antagonise prisoners who could arrange another bomb under their car? Genuinely curious.

  12. Steve,

    there is two sides of each story but not two right sides.

    There seems a widespread view that the one area that evaded anything resembling Patton has been the North's prison service. Maghaberry was described by Chief inspector of prisons in England and Wales, Nick Hardwick, as "one of the worst prisons I've ever seen and the most dangerous prison I've been to."

    According to the statement from the prisoners some former H Block screws were involved in the violence.

    A logical question to end with but screws antagonised prisoners during the blanket protest knowing that their colleagues would pay a terrible price. Most of the staff killed didn't work in the blocks. One was killed at the Crumlin Road and the prisoners who knew him spoke warmly of him. His son became a prison governor and he displayed not the slightest animosity towards the prisoners. On one occasion a leading prison officer, Dessie Irvine, was shot dead days after he spoke in very rational terms on TV about the prison protest. He seemed a very progressive guy who bore no hostility to the protesting prisoners. His targeting seemed to make no sense but it is what happened.

    Two of the most violent screws during the protest were killed long after it had ended.

    I remember talking to a guy who worked the republican wings in the blocks. His brother did likewise. Their brother was killed in an IRA bomb attack and the reason given for targeting him was very weak to say the least. I talked to the guy about losing his brother and he spoke very candidly about it but with no bitterness towards me or the other prisoners. I think it took a lot of character for those who lost loved ones and continued to work the republican wings with no change in attitude.

  13. DaithiD,

    the problem is that they do behave normally outside the job. I think many studies point to this about cops and people who perform certain roles.

    I once spoke to the daughter of a prison officer who had been killed during the conflict and she was wholly unable to see the man we saw. She experienced him as a loving, kind person whereas we experienced him as a thug. Each experience was authentic I would suggest.

    I remember being in the home of unionists once talking to them about the prison staff violence. They were genuinely amazed when I cited one of the screws as being the worst ever from the point of view of blanketmen. They said he was a real gentleman in their dealings with him. They accepted what I said about him but said their experience of him was entirely different.

    Life - it is never neat is it?

  14. Steve

    The antagonism might arise from false bravado in not wanting to be seen as cow-towing to the prisoners. However, from my own experiences the screws who dealt with us on a daily basis by and large were civil and courteous to us as we were with them -we all had to put up with each other -the search teams and riot squads were a different beast -riot squad faces are masked and they generally only came into contact with us during any disputes that arose during 'robust' searches -they were often aggressive and hostile because they feel they can afford to be because they are masked. The ordinary screws were often just as angry with them because they had to deal with a bunch of aggrieved prisoners after the search teams and riot squads had left the block.

  15. Steve Ricardos

    Not lazy sectarianism. Reality of employment practices in N. Ireland security sector. 99.9% certain orange bastards. I don't do piss-process delusion.

  16. AM, I have read elswhere that screws in the states have nearly twice the proportion of PTSD as their army vets. I guess its not synonymous with violence,but it can't be less for those in the North. I'm not claiming any authority on the subject though.
    I know its probably an aggregation of others experiences, but there was a scene in Hunger where a weak Bobby Sands falters leaving the bath,and the loyalist tattooed screw lets his thinly covered bones hit the floor. Its not the worst that went on, but I felt it watching it.

  17. DaithiD,

    artistic licence was plentiful in the film including that scene.

  18. AM

    I guess not many who have not been inside actually care that much regarding the plight claimed or actual of those incarcerated. But neither have I heard anything from the Screws side. Hence my issue with 'choosing' a 'right' side. You and Christy have both said on separate occasions that a lot of the screws were decent and with a humanity, but tempered that with those that were not.


    If what AM said is correct, then the fact that the screw make-up is in your words '99.9% Orange B*stards' is beside the point. RC Screws would be just as susceptible to being utter sh*ts once the uniform is on and the jailhouse door is closed. Sectarianism epitaphs in the case ARE lazy.


    Are the Riot Squad also screws or some other external body? Cheers.

  19. AM, the director had talent, he made the H-Blocks seems like a series of Rothko's. Anyone that turns a pee covered floor into a thing of beauty is to be admired.

  20. Steve

    They were screws but a separate entity and only encountered prisoners when called out which probably contributes to their aggression from sitting around waiting for something to happen. When individual riot squad members were tasked to other duties it would normally have been manning gates or patrolling perimeters and other duties where they are still not really directly engaging face to face with prisoners. That perhaps helps them keep their edge and their anonymity which was something they valued. When they act the bollix I have heard wing screws arguing with them about causing trouble and then fucking off again leaving the block/wing screws to deal with angry prisoners. Riot Squad screws were also generally bigger and fitter than the average mix of screws who might have pot bellies and other 'relaxed muscles'.

    So it was not uncommon for riot squad members to provoke or escalate a situation for the fun of it. Once they come on to a block they have full operational control over the ordinary screws. And where a prisoner might protest (argue) about something the riot squad can immediately pin them to the ground then twist their arms and legs into locks and carry the prisoner away with their body suspended as dead weight putting more pressure on the twisted limbs. That I can tell you is a painful experience.

  21. Steve, The key to debating with you loyalists is to never take youse that seriously. You don't use the dead as propaganda? That's brilliant. What about rememberance day? The biggest military propaganda event on the planet, that with each passing year becomes less about the world wars and more about current conflicts. What about the double page spreads celebrating colonial soldiers "heroric" struggles in Iraq or Afghanistan. What about the continuing coverage of innocent Brit or western victims or military wives choir or any other constant propaganda stuffed down our throats with western dead as their main theme?
    Back to the point, what would you do to stop this escalating?
    Anthony from a Unionist perspective would it not make sense to have impartial inquiries? Would that not stop, or help stop the inevitable violence? or are they too entrenched in their superiority complex to admit that their wee 6 statlet is riddled with injustice.

  22. Steve Ricardos

    The screws in Portlaoise prison are 99.999% fenian fuckers. Hope that helps.

  23. Christy,



    Slight difference in paying respects to the dead via a church service than the ghoulish way the RM used photo's of self-starved men to push their worldview. And before you get all 'offended', I am not making light of the suffering of those that died on the Hunger Strikes, but I AM having a go at the morbidly repugnant way the Shinners used them back in the 80's.

    Or are 'usens' being to flippant?


    Every time I think you are a rabid nutter you make me laugh, cheers!

  24. David,

    I am all for an independent investigation into the prison service. I have no superiority complex. If prisoners are being beaten it is just wrong.

  25. Steve, Am not going to get into a debate about who manipulates the image of dead men more. There's something about that, that feels wrong. I'll leave that there. Fair play though on the impartial investigation. Thought you were going to be one of the unionists who if the see a republican talking, assume he's lying. Every one of these allegations have to be investigated without prejudice. If there's ill treatment, punishment must be handed out. I think everyone benefits from highlighting this sort of behaviour. The sort of institutionalised bullys who beat incarcerated and struggling human beings make me sick.

  26. David,

    No worries, and me too. Perhaps those who can wear a mask in their job let their psychopathic nature come forward?

    But absolutely it needs investigating and stopped. I sent Anthony a link to an article I found interesting a little while back. Think it was in Norway or Sweden. Basically it showed that long term prisoners when treated with a degree of respect and even given responsibility( they were working on a prison farm/island and had to tend the animals) were far more likely to not re-offend in future. In fact, some of them didn't want to leave the island!

    This struck a cord as I read somewhere that one of the hunger strikers made the comment before passing that 'it wasn't much of a life anyway'...or words to that effect. (Apologies if I got that wrong).

    Just seems commonsense that channeling prisoners time and effort into useful pursuits would invariably lead to better outcomes.

    I've noticed with complete horror that here in Australia they are talking about opening prisons to private contractors to run. If there is money to be made by incarceration then I expect the prisons to be full, and mainly with repeat offenders too.

    Frightening thought.

  27. Aye, your on to something there, locking people up and calling them scum simply doesn't work. Problem is most people don't give a fuck, working class are still divided over sectarianism and people from a higher social-economic bracket have never had to make a choice on the morality of crime naturally assume all prisoners are criminals with psychopathic tendencies