A delegation of the Friends, Family and Ex-Prisoners campaign group have accused the Prison Service of bad faith after the delegation was denied an agreed delegation visit in the jail today. The six person delegation eventually got through to the main visiting area after having to undergo totally unacceptable treatment. It became apparent to the delegation at the early stages that the Prison Service were not treating this group seriously. Problems processing the delegation, delays and lack of facilities outline the unconcerning attitude of the Prison Service in relation to the delegation. The insincere approach of the Prison Service was further evidenced by two other developments during the visit: The first was the prevention of the prisoners' delegation from the meeting through the use of strip searches and secondly the unavailability of governor Taylor (who was supposed to sort out any problems that may arise) when requested by the delegation. The end result was that the delegation visit did not take place.
Speaking outside Maghaberry Paul Little said;
“Today was a wasted opportunity in which the inevitable resolution of the Republican prisoners protest in Roe House has been delayed. It has been delayed by the prison service and the P.O.A. in a vain attempt to continue to penalise republican prisoners and drag the prison regime for republican prisoners back to the 1970.s. We note with concern the words of P.O.A. representative Finlay Spratt on the BBC Spotlight programme were he said the prison system could ‘Bring it on’ in regards to prison reform. His words demonstrate where the problem lies within Maghaberry Prison and it’s not with the republican prisoners who are behaving with great dignity and resolve. The IRSP are fully committed to supporting republican prisoners in their campaign to achieve their human rights within Maghaberry and the first step towards a resolution has to be facing down of the POA and their sectarian bigots within the prison.”
Mandy Duffy (a spokesperson for the Friends of Colin Duffy campaign group), who was also part of the delegation said of the non meeting:
"If the Prison Service think that they can treat this delegation or any future delegation as second class citizens and expect the prisoners and the campaign group to accept this they are seriously mistaken. The inevitable consequences of today's behavior by the Prison Service and the POA will be to highten further tensions within the gaol and reinforce the belief by many that the Prison Service and the POA are not interested in resolving the legitimate concerns of the prisoners."
It has since emerged that the POWs have been forced to escalate their protest by mixing their feces with urine and pouring it out the cell doors