Thursday, 18 October 2012

Davy Hyland welcomes Marian Price, Gerry MCeough, Martin Corey motion

Cllr Davy Hyland response to motion submitted to Newry & Mourne District Council by cllrs P McDonald and M Murphy

The motion reads as follows: " That this council calls for the immediate release of of Marian Price, Martin Corey and Gerry McGeough. Everyone is entitled to due process. Both Marian Price and Martin Corey have been denied this. Their continued detention without trial is an infringement of their human rights and clearly undermines the justice system. their imprisonment is unjust and is in defiance of rulings by the courts in both cases. Both have been granted bail by the courts and yet remain in prison.

the arrest and continuing detention of Gerry McGeough represents  a flagrant breach by the British Government of its commitments in the Weston park Agreement woth respect to OTRs.

All three should be released immediately"

As an independent republican councillor who has been campaigning on behalf of republican prisoners and their families for some time, i very much welcome, support and endorse this motion. The basic infringement of natural rights is clearly a serious humanitarian issue and any help or support for their cause is clearly welcomed.

Martin Corey from Lurgan was released from gaol in 1992 having served 19 years and was arrested once again in April 2010 and held without trial, ie internment, ever since.

In July of this year his release was ordered by Judge Seamus Treacy who recognised that Martin’s human rights had been violated and infringed upon under article 5 of the said act. However Patterson, the British secretary of state, over ruled Treacy’s findings and insisted that the republican should remain in gaol. During the hearing it transpired that the so-called evidence against Corey was so secret that not even Justice Treacy was allowed to see it. The book of evidence given to him was an empty book with the words “the secretary of state, states that this evidence exists”, a truly colonial and imperialistic mindset if ever there was one!!!!

Patterson is now gone and his predecessor hasn’t said or done anything to the contrary and hence Martin Corey remains imprisoned, having not been charged with anything.

Marian Price from Belfast is another internee. Jailed in the 1970s she suffered from 200 days of horrific forced feeding. She has, more recently, been interned for over 500 days (1 ½ years) on a spurious charge. Having been imprisoned and isolated in an all-male prison she is now being held under armed guard in hospital suffering from pneumonia and numerous other health problems- there is a distinct possibility that this middle aged woman will die whilst in prison under the most flimsy of charges. Has Britain not learned anything from the experiences of 1981 when ten republicans lost their lives in Long kesh???

Is Britain determined to repeat the deadly mistakes of the past???

However it is really important to remember that the three named prisoners in this motion are not the only victims of the gaol scandal. In Maghaberry over 40 other republican prisoners have been forced to go on “dirty protest” fighting for political status in filthy squalid cells without the most basic of needs.

They are locked up approximately 23 hours a day, denied education, free association and all the rights associated with political status. They are still being stripped searched despite the fact that body scanners have been introduced and utilized in other prisons and yet there exists an agreement, facilitated by independent observers, that could end all of this suffering in the morning.

It was reached in August 2010 but for some strange reason David Ford reneged on it and it currently sits on the Stormont ministers desk gathering dust.

I want to finish by urging the councillors who are proposing this motion to not only use words but to follow their words with actions. No one can deny that they are a well organised party and hence they should and must mobilise their members, their support base and indeed their voters to actively protest against the injustices being inflicted upon Republican prisoners and political hostages held in British prisons.

Hopefully this motion will be supported by all within this chamber tonight and following it i would like to see a delegation of Sinn Fein, SDLP and independent councillors, and even unionist Councillors, to visit the prisoners and see at first hand the real conditions which they and their families and friends are enduring. Anyone who undertakes such a visit will come away from that prison with a much different view and interpretation of prison conditions in the six-counties.

Could i finish with a perspective from the republican prisoners themselves.....”We are currently engaged once more on a protest against conditions imposed on us that do not befit a republican prisoner of war. We cannot and will not be criminalised for actions of resistance to British rule in Ireland. The republican prison struggle has a long and turbulent history. The core and only reason there are republican POWs is British rule in Ireland. While this remains there will always be republican prisoners and until our demands are met our protest goes on”

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