I want to tell a story, short but to the point.
When I was in Long Kesh many years ago, we would be visited by the BOV: Board Of Vistors.
This body consisted of respected members of society, mostly professional people and do-gooders. Their job was to visit the jails to ensure that prisoners were being treated with respect and dignity.
Fast forward twenty years, when I found myself in very similar circumstances in Maghaberry. I received news that Sinn Fein were coming into the prison to meet with Republican prisoners. How would this transpire? Well, I soon found out.
What I witnessed made me feel sick to my stomach. I watched as three Sinn Fein members approached Roe House accompanied by the worst abusers of republican prisoners. All three had served time in the H-Blocks for many years. Particularly galling was that one had been the OC of republican prisoners in Long Kesh, and the other two were well respected ex-prisoners
Needless to say, I declined to meet with them in the circumstances. The contradiction was too painful for me to process. To be sitting at the opposite end of the table with former comrades would have been a totally demoralising experience. I choose not to subject myself to such indignity. Rather
that I would sit in the cell than acknowledge their hypocrisy.