CRIMINALISATION 'WILL BE RESISTED'
Republican prisoners held in Maghaberry jail have concluded a 48-hour
fast as part of an escalating protest for the restoration of political
status and the implementation of five demands.
In a statement issued by the OC of the Continuity IRA prisoners in
Maghaberry, the prisoners said they would continue their protest "until
the NIO and British authorities realise that we won't be beaten".
The statement criticised the "disgraceful" attitude of the prison
authorities in refusing to accept that their policy of criminalisation
"will be resisted and therefore will fail", while insisting
Oglaigh na hEireann could not be disbanded.
"Oglaigh na hEireann is not a 'patent' of any single political party,"
the statement read. "It is of the people for the people. As long
there is still British interference on Irish soil; as long as a
pro-Imperialist state exists in the 26-Counties to do Britain's dirty
work, there will always be those who will resist. Resistance is born
out of oppression.
"Those of us imprisoned in Ireland and abroad have been so because
our ideological beliefs. Our belief in the Proclamation of the
Republic, declaring "the right of the people of Ireland to the
ownership of Ireland..." The belief that an alien government has
right to govern nor administer the affairs of the Irish people.
"The oppressive nature of the regime imposed on Republican prisoners
this camp was bound to breed resistance. It is the unfortunate belief
of the British authorities that today's Republican prisoners can be
criminalised and brutalised unimpeded. This is a misconception.
Although we may be small in numbers, we can guarantee that we will
resist at all costs."
The statement accepted that republican prisoners were better off than
in the period prior to the 1981 hunger strikes, "but criminalisation
whether visible or invisible must be resisted".
"The fact that this establishment is intent on forcing us to accept
policies of controlled movement, no free association for Republican
prisoners, and forcing our families to do without visits for weeks on
"The fact that we are locked in cells for up to 22 hours, the fact
we are denied all handicraft facilities and limited education is all
that is available. Education which clashes with association - as a
result one or the other must be forfeited. This is an exact throwback
to the years 1976-1981."
"We hereby ask that all politicians, north and south; all clergymen
women; the people of Ireland and abroad, and all those who have
suffered years of degradation at the hands of the British 'monsters'
support us by supporting our demands. We ask you to write letters of
support, denouncing the current policies in newspapers and to British
Meanwhile, the prison service in the 26 Counties has banned Republican
Sinn Fein's monthly newspaper from Portlaoise jail.
Until earlier this week, the publication, Saoirse, had been widely
available in the prison.
When a republican prisoner queried the ban, it was claimed that,
because the paper was a political publication, it could influence
prisoners who are entitled to vote in next year's 26-County general
The 2007 poll will be the first time that prisoners will be allowed
postal votes in elections.
Republican Sinn Fein chairman Joe Lynch called the ban a "backward
He said: "The stated reason for this ban is a nonsense. Most newspapers
are political and take a political viewpoint or indeed endorse
political parties and even donate cash to parties. They may as well ban
The Irish Times or the Daily Mail."
Mr Lynch accused the prison service of a "crude attempt" at
discriminating against republicans opposed to the Good Friday
"It is as simple as that, and I am calling for an immediate lifting
this short-sighted ban on a legitimate party publication," said Mr