League Concerns Over Maghaberry Prison Vindicated

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

The Celtic League has been raising concerns about the situation for both staff and inmates at Maghaberry Prison in Northern Ireland for well over a decade. In that time we have repeatedly corresponded with Justice Minister at Stormont, David Ford, the Secretary of State for N Ireland and rights bodies such as the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).

In February of this year we specifically wrote to both the CPT and the UN (OHCHR) Special Rapporteur calling for an independent International inquiry.
Now our concerns have been dramatically vindicated and not by external bodies but by the United Kingdom’s Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMI) who, in probably the most damning report that body has ever produced, has said Maghaberry Prison is the most dangerous prison ever inspected by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, he said it was in a “state of crisis” and found it was “unsafe and unstable” for prisoners and staff.

The report can be accessed here:

https://www.dojni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/doj/cjini-an-unannounced-inspection-of-maghaberry-prison-11-to-22-may-2015.pdf

Justice Minister David Ford has said he does not intend to resign following its publication but it seems that he will come under increased pressure so to do.

David Ford, in terms of the extremes of political views in the North of Ireland, is probably a moderate and his Office has in the past been willing to engage in discussion about Maghaberry. However he also gave firm assurances in the past that shortcomings would be addressed and therefore this report is a devastating blow to his credibility.

The report is welcome and should now lead to improvements it should also make bodies such as CPT and UN OHCHR pay a great deal more attention after all there failure to act when called upon is also a source of concern.

Links to some (there are to many to list) of the Celtic League news items on this issue are set out below:

https://www.celticleague.net/news/maghaberry-league-call-for-international-inquiry/
https://www.celticleague.net/news/3115/
https://www.celticleague.net/news/maghaberry-independant-enquiry-call/
https://www.celticleague.net/news/maghaberry-detailed-response-from-prison-service/
https://www.celticleague.net/news/maghaberry-nips-respond-on-overcrowding-and-doctors-issue-6-2-2010/
https://www.celticleague.net/news/maghaberry-gmc-respond-over-doctors-role-in-disciplinary-process/
https://www.celticleague.net/news/ireland-magaberry-prison-concerns/

Related link BBC:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-34733832

BBC report analysis:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-34733003
BERNARD MOFFATT
Issued by: The Celtic News

05/11/15

THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

https://celticleague.net

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