IRSP raise grave concerns over health risk to Maghaberry prisoners

It has came to the attention of the IRSP that prisoners on the Republican landings of Maghaberry gaol are being purposely and discriminately exposed to the current covid-19 health crisis due to the actions of prison officers and the disgraced Maghaberry administration.

Prisoners have informed the IRSP that the prison officers in Roe House are not wearing basic PPE including masks and gloves, and prisoners are being refused anti-bacterial cleaning products and soaps. 

While the political prisoners have accepted that visits are no longer appropriate or safe considering the health pandemic, they were told that video calls with family and friends would be used instead. These video calls take place outside the landing, and prisoners have to be closely accompanied by a prison guard throughout the process, which breaches World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on social distancing. 

Gerard Murray from the charity; Teach Na Failte who represent Republican Socialist prisoners has said that, “these conditions are completely unacceptable. Prisoners must be protected like anyone else and should not be forced to live in an environment of a high risk of exposure to this virus”

Due to the above conditions, Republican political prisoners in Roe House are now refusing to leave the landing to protect themselves and other prisoners. There have been deadly examples in different parts of the world showing the impact of a coronavirus outbreak inside prisons. If these conditions don’t improve inside Maghaberry, its only a matter of time before there is an outbreak. 

The IRSP are calling on the Department For Justice to urgently step in now and rectify this extremely hazardous and dangerous situation that poses a health risk to everyone involved.