Thursday, 23 June 2011

Statement from the Family and Friends of Maghaberry POWs support group

We the family and the friends of the republican prisoners in Maghaberry gaol reaffirm our total support for the men on protest brought about by the refusal of the gaol admin and NIO to honour the agreement signed by both parties and the independent facilitation group on 12th August 2010.

We understand totally why the prisoners believe they had no choice but to resume the protest that lead to the August agreement.

It became clear to the prisoners from day one of the agreement that the POA and some within the administration and NIO were totally apposed to it.

The POA in particular refused to implement the day to day workings of the agreement.

Backed up by some in the administration and NIO they slowly ground the agreement into the sand.

The prisoners repeatedly tried to work a way out of the logjam with the administration and NIO but felt that due to numerous issues but in particular the failure to end controlled movement and the introduction of forced strip searches that they had no choice but to resume the protest.

The prisoners have made it totally clear that the full implementation of the agreement is the only thing that will bring the protest to an end and we stand 100% behind them and call on everyone to support them in their fight to achieve their demands for basic human rights, dignity and respect.

We reject totally the comments made by David Ford that there is no breaking of the agreement by the jail administration, and call on him to read the report by his own staff that he commissioned after the breakdown of the agreement.

This document which is in his possession could end this protest today and we call on him to act now.

Martin Rafferty
Family and Friends of Maghaberry POWs support group, PRO.

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