Stop Political Extradition To British

From Portlaoise Prison, Damian McLaughlin with ...

An Open Letter To The Irish People

My name is Damien McLaughlin. I am a father of four, my three boys are aged two, four and eleven. My daughter is fifteen years old. I am from Ardboe in Co Tyrone and soon I will face the prospect of being tortured in a hell-hole called Maghaberry Gaol. 

I'm writing this letter because I need your support in the fight to stop the extradition of Irish Republican political prisoners from the 26 counties to the six county statelet. For the past seven months I have been held in Portlaoise Gaol far away from my loved ones and friends. 

The reason? I'm fighting my extradition to the six counties to face false charges based on so called hearsay evidence. When I arrive in Maghaberry I will face humiliating forced strip searches administered by deeply sectarian Loyalist screws. I know this because I have experienced dozens of these degrading strip searches having been held there in the past. My personal movement will be completely controlled every moment of every day. Having already been tried in the media by the DUP and TUV politicians who have slandered me repeatedly. I will be produced before a Diplock juryless court which exist for the sole purpose of imprisoning Irish Republicans like myself.

If my extradition proceeds I will be handed over to this brutal sectarian prison regime by my so called fellow Irishmen at the behest of MI5 and the British Government. During the course of my trial I face upwards of 100 brutal forced strip searches over a period of 10-12 weeks. All of my visitors including my family and children who have already been harassed and sometimes refused visits entirely will have to face this whole terrible process again.

Any trivial pretext can be used to refuse a visit such as the type of clothes they are wearing as seen recently in the case of Dee Duffy's young son. My family will have to face sniffer dogs, searches, hatred and sectarian abuse that no children should ever have to endure. This letter is not only for myself it's also for two young men who are facing the same terrible situation: Ciaran Maguire from Finglas and Sean Farrell from Crumlin.

I am a Republican from Tyrone and as difficult as it will be for me to bear the torrent of slurs, violence and provocation, I can only imagine what it will be like for these two Dublin lads being degraded and tortured one hundred miles away from their families.

So I'm calling on everyone - Nationalists, Republicans, and Socialists and those who believe in human rights and justice around the world, let's hear your voice loud and clear. Don't let this happen, don't let Irish Republicans be extradited to a British torture camp. Stop the extradition of all Irish political prisoners now! Support the Anti-Extradition campaign! 

A special thanks to all those who have been to the forefront of the Anti-Extradition campaign from Saoradh and the IRPWA. You know who you are as do I.

Irish Republican political prisoner,
DD McLaughlin Portlaoise Gaol


  1. Maybe the screws would have gone easier on you if you hadn't been implicated in the murder of a well liked prison officer, one who apparently had the respect of both Republican and Loyalist prisoners.

    I heard a Republican prisoner on Nolan some years back and who was practically crying at David Black's death, Mr Black's wife had made this prisoner some food because she knew he couldn't eat the prison food which made him sick. Another prisoner recalled how Mr Black came back after his shift had finished to give another prisoner a box of cigarettes as he knew he just couldn't afford them.

    A good decent man senselessly murdered by cowards in masks. For shame.

  2. Fortuitous of the papers to be in a remote Donegal village to capture him layed out on the floor at the time of arrest. Less enthusiastic about this.

  3. ps This is why im lost when people talk about EU oversight modulating the British judicial system as a reason against Brexit.Is there an instance of Republicans benefitting from this oversight? A trial before peers when such sentences are a risk, or no trial at all is a demand that protects us all.

  4. DaithiD,

    If the safety of the jury is without question and nefarious types would not attempt to influence them or worse. Diplock is a ridiculous system though regardless.

  5. Steve, Im more concerned with everyone elses saftey from the state.If your concern was really with jury manipulation, you should be adamantly against felon setting in the media too.

  6. DaithiD,

    Doing a runner doesn't help convince anyone of a person's innocence. When do the innocent run?

    Why is it always very 'specific' people who are questioned in regards to these actions?

  7. Steve, in the post GFA era, take the Craigavon Two case example. Would you willingly surrender your liberty when such an outcome is essentially built in? I dont know the best way to show dissent against this, I wouldnt judge others for fleeing.Unionists have the privilege of not needing to consider these matters too deeply. I dont think this impacts his potential verdict either way , always going to be guilty.

  8. DaithiD,

    That would be true but loyalists are also routinely sentenced to long stretches, particularly the UDA in Antrim. From memory one of the Craigavon boys even managed to take a selfie on a camera found in a house overlooking a cops home. Think the calibre of recruiting for the Republican movement has lowered somewhat.

  9. But it still misses my point, why is the establishment targetting those individuals in particular?

  10. Steve,

    setting the specifics of this case to the side, experience teaches us not to assume the forces of law and order are motivated solely by the need to nail the perp. Quite often it has been about balancing the books, covering their back, protecting their assets and so on.

  11. Steve, its very clear to me why the state locks up those whose views it doesnt like, and its not only Republicans in the North you are right. A guy was put in jail for what was meant to be year for leaving a bacon sandwich outside a mosque in the UK (stupid not criminal), he died in jail before his release. Incarceration is probably the tip of their spear, Ive seen suffocating bureaucracy used against individuals (and their families!) in terms of restricted movement and bank accounts, impossible to meet bail conditions leading to instant jail etc before this tool is used and this doesnt get the same media attention but is crippling mentally.My guess in addition to what AM mentions is they are sweeping the ice at the extremes of all political debate, such that the center advances seemingly naturally.

  12. AM,

    I'll leave the inference of asset protection to those who know the individuals more intimately, but then what is the point of the 'Law'? Surely 'balancing the books' et cetera is not unique to the North? Covering backs is a universal pastime too. Is an imperfect Law better than none?


    As above, what is the alternative?

  13. Steve,

    you seem to have answered your own question and imply that the reason for the police to target a person is not because they are guilty.

  14. AM,

    That an imperfect Law is better than no Law at all?

  15. I was arrested in 2012 for a shootin in bfast in 98......i did three years on remand and only got released on bail after going to thehuman rights court.....its 2017 now and im still fighting .....rem i was not charged with anything for the time inside.....disgrace......

  16. Steve, I now see this ill defined term 'hostility' is a sanctionable offence, of course at the unbiased policemans trusted discretion. The alternative is anything other than the course we are on now. It must be a special kind of hell, to be put atop the pyre we built for others, lets not find out too late.

  17. Frankie

    Maybe if your mate hadn't squealed that you were the shooter and you didn't do a runner they would have speeded up the process?

  18. DaithiD,

    But what is the alternative?

  19. frankie, do you think the post GFA detente allowed them space to ratchet up the laws in ways that would of looked dictator-like in its capriciousness if they tried before, let alone the consequence they would have needed to arrest leaderships they took time to mould? It just seems peoples lives can be ruined by the law now without ever being able to defend themselves or was it always a concern back in the day? European citizens are now obliged to stand trial in any EU country that seeks them, so the arguement about protecting Irishmen from foreign courts is harder to make too.

  20. Steve,

    I doubt that rule of thumb holds in any general application.

    Nazi law or Sharia law for example are hardly better than no law.