Statement – Response to Pat Ramsey’s Letter 20/12/14
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It is unfortunate that you read our letter (15-12-14) with some regret. Our decision to respond to you in relation to comments made in a Stormont debate on November 25th was primarily based on our recognition of your effort to end conflict within Maghaberry, as being genuine.
You make a number of broad statements regarding the wider issues which avoid the ‘specifics’ in relation to how the 2010 Agreement was fundamentally undermined, and indeed sabotaged, by the very same people who are now destroying attempts to re-engage that Agreement.
You state that, “there is a window of opportunity here and the challenge will be for those ‘republican elements’ in the prison now to come up to the mark.” How do you propose we do that, when it has already been aborted, before its embryonic form has had a chance to develop? Republicans have stood on the threshold of resolution from the moment the Agreement was signed. We have been at ‘the mark’ for four years, waiting for someone to take the Administration by the hand and meet us there. We continue to occupy that position and stand our ground.
You ask “…what actions have been taken since the November 25th debate to move forward such a situation?” You go on to say, “…this is the aspect of the debate we should focus on and refocus on.” As a consequence, you sidestep the core issues and deflect the spotlight from those inherently responsible for our current situation. You then revert to claims that “…it was within the walls of Maghaberry that I heard several most serious sentiments…” That, may well be true, and it may equate to ‘sentiments’ expressed in [between] the almost two-and-a-half years post the 2010 Agreement being sabotaged, that in turn lead directly to the events of November 2012. This is the period that we all should be focused on; of how it was allowed to happen; who was responsible for the sabotaging; and more importantly- how to avoid its repetition.
Republican Political Prisoners have exposed each fabricated excuse to over-control, hold in isolation, or degradingly strip-search us. As we take away every flawed ‘reason’ to continue each conflict-fuelling practice, it is replaced with yet another and another. We have documented all of this and can stand over every word. We welcome the scrutinizing of all these matters. We are confident of our position and those with power know this. We would refer you and all others to our well-publicised Foundation Documents and all other relevant statements released by us which are on the IRPWA website.
It is our view, that, in essence, all of this is about Politics, and politicians not wanting to rock the comfortable Stormont boat. The anti-Republican bigotry and vitriolic outbursts, by the DUP and their minions, expressed clearly in the Stormont 25th “debate”, is evidence of this. Similarly, the abuse meted out to Sue McAllister and the Assessment Team at the ‘Justice’ Committee on November 18th by the DUP, was both diabolical and symptomatic of the power they wield. During those ‘interrogations’ the same people concocted stories about lethal weapons which resulted in the Republican wing being trailed apart, along with visits, bails and education disrupted. Why has no one been held to account for this? Who will bring these people in front of the ‘Justice’ committee?
In closing, Pat, Republican Political Prisoners accept, as a politician, you have been one of the few genuine individuals to put your time and effort into resolving these issues. We know how difficult it can be to stick your head above the parapet, and therefore appreciate and commend your efforts.
Republican Political Prisoners
Roe 4, Maghaberry 20-12-14