Statement from Republican Prisoners Maghaberry 02/03/15.
Director General’s attempts to silence and cover-up exposed
Sue McAllister’s latest letter in The Irish News (25-02-15) with its usual plethora of ‘safety and security’ rhetoric is laced with deliberate inaccuracies and downright lies. In relation to Republican prisoners being assaulted in Roe House around the start of February, she claimed that there were no injuries inflicted during the incident, and that this was witnessed by a nurse. What she fails to disclose though is that the same nurse has been referred to in previous articles by us (Substandard Healthcare Oct. 2014) as a result of her unhealthy relationship with the very Riot Squad which continues to forcibly strip-search Republican Prisoners; the same Riot Squad that beat Martin Kelly. The S.E.T. and the Jail Administration are also presently dealing with a number of related complaints from us regarding her, some dating back months. The Republican wing had a regular nurse that day who was accompanied by another S.E.T. member. Why then was the Riot Squad’s choice of nurse used in this instance?
Two jail staff members, identified in our subsequent statements and complaints, witnessed the results of Martin’s injuries. Furthermore, Sue McAllister, along with Colin Ward (Governor), intervened and impeded a court decision to allow an independent doctor to examine him. This is an established practice within British Prisons in order to let injuries heal without being viewed by impartial and independent doctors. For all the hundreds of Republican Prisoners who have been beaten over the years, some being awarded considerable compensation, not one prison officer has ever been arrested, never mind charged. “Nor Meekly Serve My Time” would be an informative read for those who doubt prison brutality.
Another deliberate fabrication from Sue is on the issue of legal visits only being cancelled on Tuesday 3-2-15 because of a security alert. Solicitors were stopped from entering but were able to use video-link; however, Governors over-ruled staff that came to Republicans’ cells to bring them to the legal visit area. Where was the ‘security’ issue in a video-link consultation? Did the Jail Administration not want first-hand accounts getting out? Also, on Monday 1-2-15 a number of legal visits were denied to us, with solicitors intentionally lied to (numerous solicitors can confirm this), stating that Republican Prisoners refused them. Why would we do this at a time when we were doing all possible to get the truth out; the Prisoner Ombudsman being one such avenue which was availed of via up-to-minute phone calls as events unfolded?
Sue refers specifically to the Independent Assessment Team (IAT) and their recent Stocktake which she points to in a bid to supplant the August 2010 Agreement. The IAT have stated that the work which has taken place since their Stocktake, which has led to the recent spikes in tensions and complaints, “is not what was envisaged in the Stocktake”. Sue McAllister and NIPS have officially stated that this work was to “assist prisoner movement”, yet David Ford contradicted this in his opening statement during a debate in Stormont on 3-2-15 stating: “NIPS will continue to pay the closest attention to Roe House and take action to protect staff. A clear example of the action that has been taken is the physical changes on the landing that were introduced for that purpose.”
Sue is correct in that there are a number of bodies overseeing prisons. The CJINI is one, however; it has repeatedly labelled the regime in Roe House as excessively restrictive since 2005. There has been the criticism also by HMCIP, and by the Anne Owers’ Review Team who commented on the excessive security in comparison to maximum security units in England which hold suspected suicide bombers. Pauline McCabe, the former Prisoner Ombudsman, slated the Jail Administration
repeatedly, and created voluminous reports and recommendations sign-posting the way forward. The current ombudsman has criticised the regime frequently, and has commented on DUP interference while exasperatingly stating that the situation “is political and needs a political solution”. It must be remembered that the above bodies are not Republican bodies; they are all governmental bodies with the same paymaster as Sue.
In her reference to forced strip-searches taking place across the democratic world, it must be remembered that they do indeed take place, but they have also been condemned by human rights groups all over the democratic world. An alternative to strip-searching was found (as part of the August Agreement), and accepted, in the form of the BOSS chair in 2010, yet never fully implemented.
Sue McAllister is attempting to silence critics and return Maghaberry to the safety of freedom from public scrutiny. She is committed to subterfuge, conflict and cover-ups, not a safe environment. A Conflict-Free Environment will only be achieved by the full implementation of the August 2010 Agreement.