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Easter Statement by Duleek Republicans

April 9, 2012


Duleek Monument Committee welcome you here today on this the 96th Anniversary of the 1916 Easter rising.
We remember with pride the sacrifice of the men and women of 1916 and all republicans who gave their lives in the hope that Ireland would be free of British occupation and that all the children of the nation would be treated as equals.

We salute the sacrifice of the 22 hunger strikers to whom this monument was erected and we remember with pride Volunteer Joe Coombes, Volunteer Noel Gallagher and Volunteer Harry McCormick whom the memorial garden has been named after.

We send easter greetings to republicans at home and abroad especially the forgotten “On-The-.Run’s” and their families.
We ask you to spare a thought for republican prisoners at this time of year as we send greetings to Michael Campbell imprisoned in Lithuania, pows in Portlaoise, Hydebank and particularly Maghaberry Prison.

Two years ago today republican prisoners were forced to begin a protest in Maghaberry prison against strip searching and controlled movement. The prisoners barricaded themselves into the prison recreation room and once removed a concerted protest begun. This protest resulted in all prisoners been locked up for almost 23 hours a day throughout the months of the protest. On August 12th 2010 an agreement was reached between the screws, independent facilitators and the prisoners. The agreement reached was an agreement that accepted republican prisoners to be treated with respect and dignity.

However the respect and dignity was short lived as the screws reneged on the deal. They recommenced the strip searching of republicans prisoners as they were been transferred from the prison to appear at court appearances. When prisoners refused the order to strip they were beaten and on many occasions received horrendous injuries which went untreated for days. Claims were made by legal teams that some prisoners were sexually assaulted.

As we gather here today a dirty protest continues in Maghaberry prison by the pow’s and will continue until such times as the August 12th 2010 Agreement is implemented in full. We must remember that in the H-Blocks in 1981 Bobby Sands and his nine comrades gave their lives for to be treated as political prisoners. As a result of the hunger strike political status was won. Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison in 2012 are no different, they are political prisoners not criminals and political status must be given to them.
For our part we call on Minister for Justice David Ford to implement the agreement in full and we ask each and everyone here today to join protests in your area in support of the prisoners.

Last easter we stood at this monument to remember Ireland’s patriot dead as did many republicans at other monuments and graves throughout Ireland. Proclamations and statements were read out just like we are doing here today.
In Derry’s City cemetery last easter republicans gathered to commemorate our patriot dead. During that commemoration a masked Volunteer proceeded to read out an IRA statement. Standing closely by was veteran republican Marian Price who obliged by holding the statement for the Volunteer. Marian is an ex-pow and was released on licence from prison after been convicted for an IRA bomb attack at London’s Old Bailey in 1973.

Last May Marian was arrested for holding the statement and charged with encouraging support for an illegal organisation and she was granted bail but Secretary of State Owen Patterson moved swiftly to revoke her release licence. She was brought to the all male Maghaberry prison and held in solidatory confinement. Marian suffers from a mental condition which immediately deteriorated. She has lost four stone in weight and has since been moved to Hydebank prison in Belfast.
Following an assessment by prison doctors they have confirmed that she is unfit to stand trial. Duleek Monument committee call for the immediate release of Marian price so she can receive the care she can only get at an outside hospital. We also call for the immediate
re-instatement of Marian’s release license and the withdrawal of the trumpeted up charges which she now faces for holding a piece of paper at a commemoration.

Marian is not the only republican to fall victim of political policing in the occupied six counties. Lurgan republican Martin Corey also lies in a Maghaberry prison cell after having his release licence revoked. The Secretary of State has failed to give good reason to why Martin’s release licence was revoked so we can only draw one logical explanation and that is if republicans are not towing the line and are prepared to stand up to a British system in occupied Ireland we will become a target of political policing . This form of internment Marian Price and Martin Corey find themselves in must end and we demand that both republicans be released immediately.

Over the past twelve months we have seen an increase in harassment of republicans in the occupied six counties. The RUC/PSNI have increased the number of house raids, stop and search of republicans in public places and many republicans have been brought before the courts on trumped up charges.
Through the diplock courts the RUC/PSNI have secured convictions with evidence which has been proven would be in-admissible in British and American courts.

Three republicans, Brian Shivers, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wotton will now spend lengthy prison sentences after been convicted on such evidence but it is clear to all that they are the victims of miscarriages of justice similar to the Birmingham six and Guildford four. These type of political show trials and the harassment of republicans by British gunmen on Irish streets must end immediately. We are told regularly that there is a new beginning to policing in the six counties, maybe for some but not for those who know that the RUC have not gone away.
Signed: Duleek 1916-1981 Monument Committe


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