“After the surrender, no arrangements for decent custody… led to conditions which left a memory as bitter as that enkindled by executions… In the rotunda gardens… men gnashed their teeth at the shame to which both sexes were exposed” (TM Healy, Letters and leaders of my day, Voloume ii, p.561)
The above quote relates to the immediate aftermath of Eiri amach na Casca. There is somthing in the British psyche that craves not only the capture, but the degradation of those who refuse to submit to its will. Taking a Rebel prisoner is never enough, being captor will not suffice.
Twenty-four hours after the signing of the August 2010 Agreement serious matters arose. “Staff” immediately approached Republican Political Prisoners to ask what the Agreement entailed as they had not been briefed by the Jail Management. This was the first fundamental “mistake” that would allow bigots to renege upon and ultimately undermine the Agreement.
On 12 Novemer 2014, David Ford, the Justice Minister for the North of Ireland, announced to end the Strip Searching of Republican Prisoners being released from Maghaberry Gaol; going on home leave and, the end of “automatic” strip-searching for external hospital appointments. Less than 24 hours later a riot squad was ordered to forcibly strip a Republican Prisoner en route to, and upon return from, an external hospital appointment.
The Republican Prisoner, aware of David Ford’s directive and “stock-take”, articulated opposition to being strip-searched on these grounds. The response of the Maghaberry Governors (David Savage and Brian Armor) was a feign ignorance and state that he would be forcibly strip-searched regardless. The strip-search ensued. A large group of highly aggressive Riot Squad personnel entered the small room where a Republican Prisoner, awaiting hospital treatment, stood alone to face them. This was repeated on his return, even though he had been hand-cuffed, with prison guards present throughout. The aggression these men bring into that room is not merely the product of their Riot Squad training, it is sadism derived from blind sectarian hatred. This regime’s sustenance is a gratuitous and pervasive violence that is extracted from inflicting indignity upon Republican Political Prisoners in Roe House.
The era whereby Republicans “gnashed their teeth” at the indignities to which we are exposed ended a long time ago. The Administation’s failure to implement the August 2010 Agreement could not impact upon the ability or resolve of Republican Political Prisoners to face down the Pro Unionst, bigoted regime. Neither will a refusal to implement recent directives achieve anything other than a renewed conflict-fuelled enviorment.
Republican Political Prisoners Roe 4, Maghaberry 24-11-14
With many thanks to: IRPWA