REPUBLICAN prisoners in Maghaberry gaol have claimed a reveiew of a controversial deal at the high security prison has been “sabotaged”.
It comes just days after prisoners offered to give a recently completed independent stock-take” a fair wind”. The reveiw, carried out by an independent assessment team appointed by Justice Minister David Ford, (pictured below), examined aspects of a deal struck in 2010 to relax strip searches and controlled movement in the prison. Republican prisoners on the republican wing of the jail’s Roe House have accused jail authorities of reneging on the deal. The prisoners have claimed, however, that the reveiw has “already been sabotaged by the DUP and the POA (Prison Officers Association).” The recent stock-take found that “not all the principles of of the August 2010 agreement have been adhered to, nor have all undertakings been acted upon”. It also said the stock-take has “created an opportunity to get things back on track” in the prison. In response to the review, prison authorites say they will look at outstanding elements of the agreement including strip searches. They also say they will consider relaxing controlled movement as long as prison staff are allowed to carry out their work “free from harm, intimidation and threat”. Republican prisoners alligned to the ‘IRA’ are currently on the republican wing of the prison’s Roe Four landing while those alligned to the (CIRA), Continuity IRA and (ONH) Oglaigh na hEireann are housed in Roe Three. In a joint statement, repubican prisioners claim they have been told that from this week the two landings will be treated as “separate units” and that a grill separating the landings will not be opened “until violence in the streets stop”. “If those in power are genuine about moving forward to a conflict-free environment within this jail, they need to show that they are serious, for now this process is dead.” Both the POA and DUP were not available for comment yesterday. A skopesman for the Prison Service said: “The Northern Ireland Prison Service is committed to the agreement and to providing a normalised enviroment for the Roe House prisioners within a secure location.”
With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News, for the orgional story.