New screws in the CSU in Maghaberry jail must be trying to earn stripes from their paymasters judging by their aggressive attitude towards Gabriel Mackle. Since their arrival at the beginning of the month, the heating in Gabriel’s cell has been turned up high and as the windows don’t open the cell is suffocating. This has long been the practice in police cells but not in prisons.
On May 5, 2017, Gabriel was taken to see a doctor at his own request. He was taken to the doctor, a nurse was also in the room, by two screws who refused to leave the room and stood at the open door within earshot of what was being said. Because of this Gabriel refused to discuss anything with the doctor or nurse and left the room. Later when Gabriel was on the phone to his wife his call was stopped after only five minutes.
Also on May 5, Gabriel was adjudicated on and charged with refusing a direct order on March 31 to go to Bann House. His radio was removed from his cell and he cannot make an order to the tuck shop for two weeks. This is indeed an act of vindictive aggression. As was stated previously, when Gabriel refuses to move into the loyalist section of the prison, that refusal is being used to further punish him. He still has had no visits and has only a short phone call during the day.
All this on the anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands who died fighting criminalisation of political POWs. How infuriating that 36 years later there is an attempt to criminalise Republican prisoners, not just by the prison regime but by POWs in Roe House who suddenly change the rules to gain control of the wing.
POLICE are investigating after an image was posted online showing a masked man apparently firing shots in tribute to a Socialist Republican in west Belfast.
Photographs posted on Facebook by the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) – the politicial wing of the Irish National Liberation Party (INLA) – show masked men posing on a street with a picture of Harry O’Hara. Mr O’Hara, from Norglen Drive in the Turf Lodge area, died on February 28th and was buried in the City Cemetery earlier this month following Requiem Mass at Holy Trinity Church. Among death notices expressing sympathy at Mr O’Hara’s passing was one from “Connor Hughes, Cogús Republican Prisoners” in Maghaberry Jail.
The IRSP’s Belfast branch posted photos on Facebook of a “final salute to comrade Harry O’Hara”. It said “Harry was a loyal republican socialist and he will always be remembered with honour and pride by the Republican Socialist Movement” (RSM). The images show masked men dressed in paramilitay-style uniform posing beside candles and a photo of Mr O’Hara (copy of picture above). In one, a member of the group raises a gun above his head in a firing motion.
The images have been condemned by SDLP councillor Tim Attwood, who represents the area on Belfast City Council. “These are scenes which belong in the past. There is no excuse for masked gunmen on the streets of our city, no matter what the context,” he said. “This was a reckless act and should be roundly condemned.” A RUC/PSNI spokeswoman said: “Police are aware of footage on social media showing shots apparently being fired by a masked man in west Belfast. An investigation is under way.”
With many thanks to: John Monaghan, The Irish News, for the origional story.
Statement by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton
Republican Sinn Féin salutes Gabriel Mackle on his courageous defence of his distinct identity and autonomy as an Irish Republican POW within the Maghaberry prison. Irish Republican POWs have historically had to run the gauntlet of British and 26-County state attempts to criminalise them and deny them their identity, shamefully on this occasion this latest injustice comes at the hands of those purporting to be fellow Irish Republicans. To compound the injustice is the fact that it was the CABHAIR supported prisoners who won the right of Republican prisoners to have their separate identity accepted by the prison regime. The CABHAIR supported prisoners led the dirty protests which resulted in the August 2010 Agreement.
This attempt to deny Gabriel Mackle his own political identity and autonomy brings only shame to those who have a hand in it. By cloaking their actions in the name of Republicanism they sully that noble banner. A statement issued under the name of “Republican Prisoners, Roe 4” in Maghaberry prison by the group styling itself Saoradh is quite simply a tissue of lies and calculated smear, designed to hide what is really happening here.
In an attempt to smear Gabriel Mackle the statement cites his previous membership of the British Army’s Royal Irish Regiment. This is a matter of public record. Irish Republican history is littered with instances of Irish patriots who having served in the British Army subsequently gave honourable and heroic service to the cause of Irish freedom, James Connolly, Michael Mallin and Tom Barry are notable examples.
This statement cannot disguise the reality of what is going on in Maghaberry. Gabriel Mackle’s right, a right inherent to all Republican POWs, to maintain his own political identity is being attacked. Historically this right has always been respected by Republican prisoners regardless of organisation. However, this latest move to deny Gabriel Mackle this right echoes the actions of the Provisionals who in 1986 forced Republican prisoners who refused to renounce their Republican principles and abandon their allegiance to the All-Ireland Republic off prison landings.
Today it seems similar tactics are being employed by a grouping that it seems will not tolerate any alternative views. When these people speak of unity we now can see what they really mean. They are simply Provo – lite, aping the tactics and mindset of the Provisionals. They will be no more successful in their attempts to intimidate faithful Irish Republicans than the reformist Provos were before them.
We will not be intimidated or deflected from our work. Over the decades we have seen many such groupings styling themselves as Republican come and go. Republican Sinn Féin and the Republican Movement long predate them and will long outlast them. This year we mark 100 years since the historic 1917 Ard Fheis at which Sinn Féin adopted a Republican constitution. We are proud of our history of unbroken continuity of principle and organisation. Over the course of that century faithful Irish Republicans have defended that constitution from those who have attempted to subvert it, in 1921, 1926, 1946, 1969/70 and 1986. We will remain steadfast in our allegiance to the All-Ireland Republic of Easter and determined in our pursuit of our Republican goals. Once more we salute Gabriel Mackle and pledge him our continued solidarity and support. Maith thú Gabriel.
With many thanks to: Des Dalton, President Republican Sinn Féin.
A serving prison officer was among five people arrested as part of an investigation into trafficking banned items into Maghaberry Prison.
The 50-year-old was arrested at the prison on Tuesday morning.
A quantity of cash and drugs were seized in a joint operation carried out by the PSNI and the Prison Service.
Three properties were searched in Newtownabbey, Belfast and Kinallen, County Down.
The prison officer was questioned in relation to conveyancing prohibited articles into a prison, misconduct in public office, possession of criminal property and being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
A 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were arrested in Newtownabbey.
A 55-year-old woman was arrested in Belfast and a 50-year-old woman was arrested in Kinallen.
They were all released on bail pending further enquires late on Tuesday night.
The PSNI’s Head of Reactive and Organised Crime Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs said: “Detectives today seized £10,000 cash, a quantity of suspected Class A and Class B controlled drugs and a number of mobile phones.
“This operation is a good example of how collaborative working can disrupt crime and also demonstrates our commitment to Keeping People Safe by removing harmful drugs from society.”
The head of the Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, said: “I welcome the result of today’s joint operation with the PSNI and would take this opportunity to reiterate the zero tolerance drugs policy which operates within Northern Ireland’s prisons.”
Tony Taylor from Derry City is currently Interned in Maghaberry Prison.
To date, there has been no allegation of wrongdoing let alone evidence put to Tony by the authorities to explain his continued imprisonment.
The decision to jail Tony has been taken by the British Secretary of State, based on unaccountable intelligence supposedly provided by the security services. This is an abuse of power, undemocratic and an infringement of human rights.