Brendan Lillis free at last


The release of Brendan Lillis demonstrates the power of sustained protests and mobilisations on the streets, led by his courageous partner Roisin Lynch, and friends and families of other prisoners. Solidarity pickets and camps took place across Ireland and abroad including a three day hunger strike at the former Andersonstown barracks site in West Belfast, whcih involved a broad range of republican and human rights organisations including the WSM.

The 59 year old former republican prisoner who has been bed ridden for two years with a debilitating bone disease was released on Thursday night from guards at the Belfast City Hospital. He remains on parole licence and may face renewed charges in relation to an alleged tiger kidnapping in the future if he gets better.

The news came as a surprise as only a few weeks ago the Parole Commissioners along with David Ford, Head of the Department of Policing and Injustice rejected medical reports that he needed to be moved from his Prison Hospital.

Laying in his hospital bed Brendan thanked everyone for their support and paid tribute to Roisin "who has moved mountains. Somebody who can do that on their own, well, I can’t say enough about her." Ms Lynch added "I can’t thank people enough for their support. Brendan is out but we have to fight on for other people who are being brutalised."

Although Brendan has been released, degrading violent strip searching, prison abuse and torture is far from over. Internment still continues under a different name and context but the direction remains the same; to criminalise and isolate political prisoners or otherwise.

While the Workers Solidarity Movement is opposed to state repression we are also opposed to the cul-de-sac of armed republicanism which only serves to further divide the working class in the service of a narrow, militaristic and all to often sectarian nationalism.

We support the prisoners demands on a humanitarian basis and call for an end to prison censorship and repression.

We support the call for one campaign, one voice, linking with wider prison struggles at home and abroad based on the ‘relative action committee’ model free of party political control. Solidarity and direct action, rather than lobbying politicians are our greatest weapons