Statement from Roe 4 Republican Prisoners 20/10/14
Republican Political Prisoners, Roe House, Maghaberry Gaol, have recently highlighted the measures being taken by the Jail Administration, backed by NIO, MI5 and David Ford, to attack Republican Political Prisoners and attempt to distract us from our campaign to end Controlled Movement, Isolation and Forced Strip Searching. This includes an attack on our families through plans to downgrade our already unacceptable family visiting arrangements. A further sinister measure being taken by the Jail Administration is the deprivation of adequate healthcare for Republican Political Prisoners; added to this is the unnecessary degrading Forced Strip Searches going to and returning from hospital. This is in spite of the RPP being handcuffed to prison guards the entire time, even during extremely private medical consultations and procedures, along with policemen armed with rifles outside the door.
Recent events have revealed a sinister relationship between the Jail Administration and the South Eastern Trust (SET). Appointments and consultations often involve weeks and months of waiting and the quality of advice and treatment is regularly substandard. This was exemplified recently when a Republican Political Prisoner suffered a heart attack; after pressing the emergency alarm he was told by a nurse that he was not taking a heart attack, only to be taken to an outside hospital for exactly that reason. Despite his immediate condition, he was subjected to a Forced Strip Search before the Riot Squad would let him go to the hospital. He was handcuffed on the journey to and while in the hospital, and was surrounded by prison guards throughout. Despite this the Riot Squad was deployed on his return and repeated their undignified Forced Strip Search.
The overtly joking and cosy relationship between the SET staff and the Riot Squad is also a matter of serious concern and is subject to complaints at present with a view to possible legal action.
Other Republican Political Prisoners have been denied access to the outside hospital despite recommendations from doctors. It was at a recent court hearing surrounding this matter that the SET showed their true colours and a flagrant disregard for the well-being of prisoners when they attempted to deny responsibility and endeavoured to lay the blame elsewhere. Furthermore, Republican Political Prisoners with conditions such as diabetes are continuously being denied suitable treatment and dietary necessities. Maghaberry Healthcare has also been highlighted in the media recently around the denial of support and care for non-political prisoners, resulting in serious self-harm and the losing of limbs due in no small part to serious negligence.
For its part the POA has responded to these issues with self-serving statements regarding the need for more staff and in turn, more money to line their own pockets, rather than concede that their prison system is corrupt and incapable of reform. Republican Political Prisoners will not be intimated or deterred by such measures. However, we wish to put on record that unless the situation is resolved, in a root and branch fashion, severe and detrimental issues relating to the life and well-being of all prisoners can only deteriorate to a point where lives are endangered. In the coming weeks the spotlight will be shone on all aspects of healthcare relating to prisoners. Those with responsibility for healthcare, staff and the treatment of prisoners would do well to take note…
Republican Political Prisoners
20th October 2014