DOES Anyone honestly believe Marian Price is a threat to national security? At almost 60 and in very poor & mental & physical health, the one-time radical republican has long since passed her revolutionary sell-by-date.
The deterioration in her health leaves her unable to even sit through a video-link court appearance, never mind oversee the actions of an armed dissident republican group. However, for those opposed to peace what she does represent is a link with a past romanticised by disillusioned former IRA members. Her conviction for bombing the Old Bailey along with her sister Dolours and one-time close friend and fellow bomber turned political enemy Gerry Kelly led to imprisonment in Englandwhere the sisters were both force-fed daily in the most violent of circumstances.
They became part of a campaign that gained massive support. As news of their ill-treatment went global and was made Public, thousands protested in rallies across Ireland. Marian Price’s present plight does not muster that support in such numbers. The most vocal callers for her release now come in the unlikely guise of the SDLP which has been outspoken in it’s condemnation of keeping a women fast approaching pensionable age behind bars.
The revoking of life licences remains a sore point – it is a process overseen by a British secretary of state and beyond the control of a locally elected justice minister. Mr Owen Patterson ( now resigned ) deemed Price a threat to ” NATIONAL SECURITY ” I doubt that the MP for North Shropshire knows Price personally and therefore we have to assume he acted on advice given by a security source here. Whether that was directly from the PSNI or the more shadowy security agencies or another unknown source may never be known, as legally the secretary of state does not have to reveal details of the ” intelligence ” that led to his assessment. Charges against the Veteran republican relating to a rally in which a masked Real IRA member read out a statement were last week dramatically thrown out of court. The judge presiding over the case had previously warned the prosecution to get it’s finger out in a case that required no complicated forensic evidence yet had already taken more than a year to prepare. Despite last weeks ruling, the PPS has indicated an intention to push ahead with the prosecution via indictable summons. However, this is all irrelevant to Price’s plight as regardless of the out come of both this and a further charge of providing a mobile phone that police allege was used to claim the murder of two British soldiers at Massereene in 2009, she will still stay behind bars indefinitely while her licence has remains revoked.
Her detention has been likened to internment and it certainly has a whiff of the Guatanamo Bay about it, holding someone in isolation, without trail and with no release date. Doctors have deemed Price too mentally ill to take part in any court proceedings. That includes those conducted by the parole commissioners who preside over the sentence review board – the only people apart from the secretary of state with the power to release her. While this situation continues she remains in limbo. Leaving aside the implications to Price and her family there are potentially more sinister repercussions from such a seemingly undemocratic detention.
We enjoy a fragile peace that relies on the support of the public for the north’s institutions. As it becomes increasingly clear that politicians here enjoy only a limited amount of power and have no say over certain aspects of the justice department including the managing of life licences – this can cause a loss of confidence.
It also points up a gaping flaw in the Stormont institutions, a fault easily exploited by those who oppose them. This discord manifests not in the leafy middle – class suburbs, where the detention of a former IRA bomber is unlikely to bring about outpourings of sympathy or make for dinner party conversation, but in places such as Derry, Lurgan and North and West Belfast where maintaining peace has always been a difficult juggling act and the danger of a return to violence is never too far away. Marian Price is a broken women. Releasing her poses no threat to Northern Ireland’s future but keeping her locked up does. It is now a critical situation that needs to be addressed before one women’s imprisonment is allowed to become a recruitment tool for those violently opposed to peace.
WITH MANY THANKS TO : ALLISON MORRIS, IRISH NEWS.
- United Nations Medic to Examine Price !!! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- New Legal Bid Being Prepared to Get Release for 57 – Year – Old Marian Price ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- MARIAN PRICE NEEDS YOU!! Letter from prominent Republican, Alex McCrory. (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Marian Price and the lost document (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- £194,000 Bill to Keep Marian Price in Prison ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)