• May 22, 2015


If there’s chaos in the mail room what is the rest of the Prison like? (read below):

On 3rd February this year the Celtic League raised concerns about alleged complaints over prisoner mistreatment at Roe House section of Maghaberry Prison with the NI Assembly Justice Minister, David Ford, MLA.

We had previously queried conditions at the Prison with Minister Ford who had provided assurances that complaints were being addresses. The Prison has also been the subject of criticism by external bodies such as the Council of Europe CPT.

Having not received a reply we followed up with further copies of the correspondence over the following weeks by mail, recorded delivery and email. Periodically, via email, responses were promised but never received.

Having once again raised the issue with the Justice Department this week a letter (copy below) from Maghaberry was received by email.

The content of the letter is hardly illuminating but it is the way it’s structured that’s of interest. It refers to a letter apparently dated the 8th of February then our letter to Minister Ford of the 3rd of February? In fact there was only one letter sent (copies thereafter).

The date on their response letter is the 19th of February (which was received by email today) indicates it was dispatched by post on the 19th of February.

The address on the letter, however, simply says: Mr J B Moffatt, Director of Information, Celtic League. You don’t have to be a clairvoyant to work out why this got lost in the post!

Also interestingly it seems mail sent to the Minister was just randomly forwarded on hence the reference to two dates for the same mail.

It strikes us that if there is this much chaos in the Prison and Departmental postal service ‘god help the inmates’.

Thankfully, they may not have to wait for God: we have forwarded concerns to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and with a visit to the UK planned for next year we will be urging them to put Maghaberry back on their itinerary for inspection.

“Our reference GM 66 2015

Date 19 February 2015

Mr J B Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League

Dear Mr Moffatt,

Thank you for your letter dated the 8 February 2015 expressing concerns over recent incidents at HMP Maghaberry involving Republican Separated Prisoners on Roe House 3 and 4 that you raised in a letter to Minister David Ford on the 3 February 2015

The Minister of Justice receives regular updates from the Prison Service regarding issues at Maghaberry, including Roe House. He also meets the Independent Assessment Team and other stakeholders to discuss issues relating to Roe House. He is therefore fully aware of events and ongoing issues in the prison.

The Northern Ireland Prison service continues to work towards implementation of the Stock Take report that was published on the 25th and has accepted the nine recommendations.

Yours sincerely

Governor, Functional Head
HMP Maghaberry”

Our thanks to whoever eventually located the missing reply.

Link below to related items on CL News:

Maghaberry: League Call for International Inquiry

CPT Respond on Maghaberry Prison Concerns

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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