We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again.
- Nathanael Greene


Press Release 26 November 2001

The following is a run down on the current situation in Port Laoise Prison, from Marian Price, Chairperson Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA).

On Friday, 23rd November, a Republican Prisoner in the gaol was refused temporary release to visit his sick child who had been hospitalised earlier in the week. The men on the wing decided to have a protest at this continued discriminatory treatment being meted out to Republicans. They refused lock-up on Friday night and attempted to hold a peaceful protest by sitting down outside their cells. Deputy Governor O’Keefe came on to the wing in a state of intoxication and threatened the men that he would send in the Riot Squad if they didn’t do as he said (This is in stark contrast to the way previous protests of this nature have been handled). There was a standoff for some time and then, true to his word, the governor sent in the riot squad.

The men were attacked and battened into their cells. Then each cell was opened one at a time. Each man was taken out, strip-searched, his cell was stripped and then he was returned to the cell. This was all carried out with considerable force resulting in one prisoner having to be taken to an outside hospital; not to mention the injuries of those who weren’t given treatment.

The men have been locked-up ever since in cells without toilet facilities and only the use of a plastic pot. The heating and electric has been turned off also. These men are now in stripped cells with no heat, no electric and no medical assistance.

The authorities are releasing little if any information about the situation, and as yet, the families have been unable to find out the name of the man hospitalised. We do know that the men have been further punished with 14 days loss of remission (bear in mind some of these men are remand prisoners- so much for innocent until proven guilty) and 60 days “loss of privileges”. This entails no visits, no letters, no phone calls, no shop - or as the Justice Department like to put it “no contact with the outside world for two months”. The men will be locked in their cells for 23 hours everyday with 1 hrs exercise” weather permitting.”

This punishment will cover the whole Christmas period, so not only are these men’s families, especially their children, denied a father at home, they now will have no contact whatsoever with them. It beggars belief that this treatment is being meted out by an Irish government against its own citizens. I’ve heard of some harsh treatment in prisons but this is in a class of its own.

Maghaberry Prison has also been refusing prisoners compassionate parole this week.

Kieran Mc Laughlin’s young grandson is at present in hospital with a terminal condition; the child has very little time left. Kieran’s daughter and wife are keeping vigil by his bedside day and night, and still he was refused even a few hours to visit.

We in IRPWA have already held a protest outside Port Laoise (Sunday 25th November), and we will be intensifying our campaign in the coming days to demand humane treatment for these Republican Prisoners. We all must ensure that the torture and persecution of these men stops immediately. All right-thinking people will recognise the brutality being used here.

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Press Release 24 November 2001
The following statement is released by Marian Price (Chairperson), on behalf of the IRPWA:


"The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association wish to place on record and highlight to the Irish public our deep concern at the brutal treatment meted out to republican prisoners in E2 Wing of Portlaoise prison on 24th November 2001.

We are deeply disturbed at reports emanating from this particular institution of republican prisoners being hospitalised as a result of injuries sustained at the hands of a vicious riot squad. Likewise do we treat with contempt the denials issued by the Portlaoise prison officials of the extent of the prisoners’ injuries, given the appalling human rights record of that administration in its treatment of republican prisoners, which culminated in the death last week of POW Kevin Murray through deliberate neglect.

We are convinced that this approach by the administration in Portlaoise and Maghaberry is part of a dual strategy by the British and Free State governments to crush all true republican opposition to these nefarious political and counter insurgency policies.

We call for an end to the daily persecution of republican prisoners and an end to the government’s policy of political discrimination. Furthermore, we wish to assure the prisoners and their families of our continuing support for and solidarity with them in their hour of need. We call upon human rights organisations to monitor the degenerating conditions of Republican prisoners in Ireland and Britain post Good Friday Agreement."



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