Response to Statement by Sinn Fein’s Martin Ferris
The IRPWA views with concern attempts by Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris to heighten tensions in Portlaoise jail last night. When, in a statement carried on the Sinn Féin website and Twitter account of Mr Ferris, he effectively claimed that Republican Prisoners had been injured during a protest and went on to call on both the prisoners and the prison staff for “calm”.
Contrary to what Martin Ferris suggested there was no confrontation in the jail and the protest carried out by Republican Prisoners was both dignified and measured. Mr Ferris missed the point that the protest was actually staged to draw attention to the deplorable conditions and brutality endured by Republican Political Prisoners in Maghaberry and specifically the continued refusal to allow injured prisoners medical treatment and legal access.
Mr Ferris’s comments were provocative, incendiary and politically self-serving. Despite his own long and once proud connection with Portlaoise jail, Mr Ferris is seriously out of touch with current events and the reason why there continues to be so many Republican Political Prisoners still incarcerated in Portlaoise and other prisons throughout the island of Ireland.
His misreading of the situation and premature statement without fact caused untold damage which needs rectification. Given his status as a TD, Martin Ferris is in a position to publicly speak out about the ongoing abuse in Maghaberry and should be obliged to do so; with a caveat being that he first ascertains the facts before he speaks.