Statement by the POW Department, Republican Sinn Féin
In a statement, issued on Wednesday, April 8, the POW Department of Republican Sinn Féin called a recent statement by Provisional Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney “shameful.” Following an incident during which mobile phones were stolen from a security lock-up by non-political prisoners, McCartney, himself a former POW, gave a statement to the Irish News, calling for tighter security in Maghaberry.
It was reported that ten mobile phones had been stolen from a secure prison lock-up by non-political prisoners. These prisoners are based in Maghaberry’s Shimna House. Provisional MLA Raymond McCartney gave a statement to the Irish News on Friday, April 3, describing the incident as “a serious breach of security.”
He furthermore informed that he will raise the issue with the prison service. He concluded saying that “actions are needed to be taken to ensure that is does not happen again in the future”.
The security in Maghaberry is already one of the tightest in Western Europe. Republican prisoners held in Roe House are under lock-and-key no matter what part of the jail they are in except for the brief period they are allowed in the yard. The harsh treatment, security clampdown, lock-ups, searches, and removal of basic prisoners’ rights forced the Republican prisoners to various protests against their treatment by the prison authorities in recent years. In the past days, the Republican prisoners were punished for commemorating 1916 and wearing the Easter Lily.
A spokesperson of the POW Department of Republican Sinn Féin said: “Republican Sinn Féin rejects all calls for tighter security at Maghaberry and any other jails in Ireland. Although, McCartney called for tighter security in regard to non-political prisoners, all such moves will have also a similar effect for Republican prisoners.
“The vision of a tough, repressive prison regime to punish prisoners as hard as possible is an out-dated idea not fit for purpose in the 21st century. It refuses to accept modern understanding of the treatment of prisoners.
“The call for tighter security in a British-run jail in Ireland is a particularly shameful move by a former Republican prisoner turned Stormont politician. This statement by Raymond McCartney furthermore underlines the path the Provisional Movement has walked in the past three decades.
“Raymond McCartney’s call for tighter security in Maghaberry jail shows that the Provo poacher has fully turned British gamekeeper,” the statement concluded.