Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry Protest for Basic Conditions in 2015

Date:

Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison will be coming off their protest on Monday 19th of October. The prisoners were on protest for 9 weeks because of the closing of a hatch in the kitchen that prevents ventilation and the prisoners receiving their food.

The prison administration struck a deal with the protesting prisoners, confirming they will open the kitchen hatch which will let the prisoner “prepare and consume meals in a dignified manner” [1]. Tomorrow the prisoners will return eating the two meals (lunch and dinner) which are granted by the jail.
 

The closing of the kitchen was an act of repression from the state. This was due to loyalists complaining and the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) ordering the prison administration to close a gate that connected the Republican prisoner landings of Roe 3 and Roe 4. The gate was kept shut for years so the prison could control the movements of the Republicans prisoners and also because the two landings that house different Republican groups were at logger heads with each other for a number of years, but over the last 12 months the Republican groups reconciled with each other. And so it was requested that the gate be opened to connect the two landings.

After the prison administration locked the gate they then locked the kitchen hatch. In an act of defiance and protest the prisoners refused prison food. The food the protesting prisoners lived off was sweets from the prison tuck shop, crisps and chocolate bars.

[1] Statement from Republican prisoners on Roe 4. “Stalemate over hatch closure ends 16/10/15”

 

WORDS: Joe Conlon

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