I did not write about this visit on Thursday due to the fact that Christine Connor from North Belfast was in court yesterday (Friday) for another bail application and I was hopeful she may have got it due to the fact that she is a totally innocent young woman held on allegations which are ludicrous and gives the distinct sense of a careful set up by the spooks that are operating within our communities. Sadly she was refused on the grounds that she may have access to pipe bombs and other things.
Christine was arrested at the beginning of June and held and questioned for seven days about an alleged attack when a pipe bomb was thrown at Police who were responding to an 999 call, she was also charged with possession of pipe bombs and preparing acts of terrorism.
At the same time a young man from Shrewsbury in England was also arrested and has since been charged with terrorist offences, whilst he does not appear at the court at the same time as Christine he is being associated with her. Christine does not know this young man at all?
The fact is Christine was arrested with nothing in her possession and after lengthy searches of her home and other family members homes nothing was found and there is no forensic evidence linking her to any of these charges.
The police say they can connect her to these charges, and we as Republicans have been down this road before, when allegations are made with nothing to substantiate them yet the person can spend a long time in “Administrative Detention” until the case comes to trial.
I went to see her on Thursday with a friend of hers and we were able to spend two hours with her where she talked me through the prison regime. Christine shares a wing with one other Republican female prisoner (Sharon Rafferty who has been held in “Isolation” for 13 months) until Christine joined her. The two women have become firm friends and are very supportive of each other. They conduct themselves within the prison as strong Republicans who will not be treated as criminals, but that does not mean that the prison system is not constantly trying to harass them and their visitors by giving them prison numbers, (rather than a name) or referring to them as “Dissident terrorists “in the mixed visiting areas within earshot of other visitors.
There is no education facilities available because the two women can already read and write and there are only courses for illiterate prisoners.
There is access to the gym but it is used by ODC’s and no time slot is made available for the two women to use it without mixing with criminals.
The food is inedible so they have to purchase it form the prison shop which is expensive.
During the week they are allowed out of their cells to associate with each other but at weekends they are locked up for 16 hours a day.
These two Republican women are supported by family and close friends but we as Republicans collectively need to be more supportive and that can be done in a very simple way, send them both a letter or a card, let them know we have not forgot about them. If you live close to their families call and offer support or even inquire about their welfare.
Today we had wonderful weather, the sun was shining and as I was driving up the road young women were sitting in “Beer Gardens” having a cold drink basking in the sunshine….
TODAY CHRISTINE CONNOR HAD HER BIRTHDAY,
SHE IS 28 YEARS OF AGE AND HAS BEEN LOCKED UP FOR 16 HOURS TODAY IN A PRISON CELL BECAUSE SHE IS A REPUBLICAN…
ALL I AM ASKING YOU TO DO AT THIS STAGE IS TO WRITE TO CHRISTINE AND SHARON OR SEND A CARD TO SHOW THEM WE CARE…
Seosamh O Bradaigh
Within the last few hours Christine Connor was having a visit for her birthday when it was abruptly cut short by screws claiming the needed the room for other use, upon leaving the Gaol the 2 visitors were met at the entrance by the RUC/PSNI and arrested one of the visitors, he has since been taken to Antrim RUC/PSNI station. The person who they arrested is not a citizen of the country and is in fact an American citizen, the behaviour of the screws and the RUC/PSNI once again has been brought into question when in relation to Republicans more updates will follow