Issued: 12th July 2014
As Republican prisoners we abide by a strict etiquette of honour, honesty and discipline. At all times we have honoured our word and have gave the Prison regime room to implement their side of any agreement we reached with them.
To date the Prison regime have not implemented the agreed end to controlled movement amonst other things agreed upon, thus proving they are not to be trusted and their modus operandi is the criminalisation of Republican Prisoners.
The lastest attempt to criminalise Republican Prisoners concerns visiting arrangements. At present POW’s can sit in a “booth” beside their families, hold their children and maintain strong family relationships. The Prison Regime is working now on changing the outlay and number of tables available for a visit. They plan to have a metal round table, with one seat for Prisoners and three seats at the other side of the table for visitors, this will be completely open plan. The seat for prisoners will even go as far as being a different colour, no longer will families be able to sit together, privacy will be completely removed and replaced with a sterile and clinical atmosphere resulting in a formal style visit of prisoners with their families and friends.
Many Prisoners have children and this will seriously impact on the quality time they can spend with them and could lead to an estrangement, having to visit their fathers in such an alien, unnatural and restrictive environment.
We, as Republican prisoners will not be criminalised and so cannot and will not accept this arrangement. We will refuse all visits that are conducted in this manner, as we will not allow the prison regime to humiliate us or our families. We would point to the will of Republican Prisoners in the past who previously asserted their rights as political prisoners not to be criminalised, like those before us we are prepared and we will not capitualte or be forced into an unacceptable regime at the Prison.
The proposal stops short of imposing a partition between prisoners and visitors, we believe this is only the start of phasing in a complete criminalisation policy against Republicans. We will not be found wanting in our resitance and we urge the Public to get behind us in this campaign. The work has already began on changing the Visting room, this policy could be implented in the next couple of weeks and so we urgently need support and the Republican people to highlight this for us.
Signed: O/C, C.I.R.A Prisoners, Maghaberry Gaol, July 2014