Thursday, 12 August 2010

Victory to the POWs

Family & Friends of Maghaberry POWs Statement

The Concerned Families and Friends group welcome the latest developments in the ongoing dispute within Maghaberry prison. After three weeks of intensive negotiation the British have agreed to change the punitive and vindictive regime republican prisoners were forced to endure.

We are relieved that our prisoners are no longer hostages to the whims of the Loyalist Prison Officers Association and share in the joy and relief of the prisoners’ families who have endured years of stress and turmoil and vindictive harassment at the hands of the screws.

We pay tribute first to the courage and integrity of the republican prisoners who took a stand and challenged the Thatcherite policies of the Stormont regime and endured the punishments of a vindictive British prison system which tried in vain to crush their spirits.

We also pay tribute to all those people who worked away quietly in the background and lobbied intensively for a resolution to the prison crisis. A diverse collection of community, political, religious and business people took time out of their busy schedules to devote time and effort to contribute to finding a resolution to the crisis in Maghaberry; they done this privately away from the publicity of the camera.

We are particularly indebted to the herculean efforts of the negotiation facilitators who have spent practically all of the past three weeks in Maghaberry prison working to bring this day about. They were at times frustrated and at other times angry with the slow and obstructive pace of events but they held in there and created the space where a deal could be constructed. For their efforts we are truly grateful and appreciative.

To all those people who marched, protested, attended pickets and registered their support for the prisoners’ plight: go raibh mile maith agat! It was you who made this day possible.

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