Earlier this month, protesters gathered in Dublin's O'Connell Street to put pressure on the Dublin and London governments to live up to their obligations to prisoners as laid down by the European Union. The protest was organised by éirígí, a, socialist republican political party committed to ending the British occupation of the six counties and the establishment of a thirty-two county democratic socialist republic.
The Irish Democrat supports calls for the British government to allow Irish political prisoners held in British jails to serve out their sentence in their home country.
The following report first appeared on the éirígí website. We republish it here with permission.
NOEL MAGUIRE, an Irish republican from County Fermanagh, has been languishing in British jails since his incarceration five years ago. Despite no direct evidence of his involvement in explosions in Britain being presented to the court, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Maguire's family have also been punished, both financially and emotionally - making long and expensive journeys to visit their relative. He has not seen his children in five years.
éirígí activists joined Noel's family and supporters outside the GPO to condemn the British government's continued detention of the Irish citizen, in contravention of his right to serve his sentence in his home country.
The picket also exposed the lack of response by the twenty-six county administration to the plight of an Irish citizen detained overseas.
Speaking after the well-attended protest, éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson pledged éirígí's full support to the campaign for Noel's transfer.
"Despite the fact that Noel would never have been in jail if it had not been for the British occupation of his country, his family are not demanding his release, but simply his return to Irish soil to end the cruel punishment of the long distance between them.
"The British government's refusal to transfer Noel Maguire is in contravention of his rights as enshrined under EU law. Both the Dublin and London governments laud these laws as cornerstones of their states, yet act as if they don't exist when it comes to dealing with their political opponents. "Noel's incarceration, sentence and subsequent denial of transfer are all examples of the cruel and repressive nature of Britain's justice system, and the willingness of its allies in Ireland to acquiesce to it.
"Noel should be transferred home immediately to end the collective punishment being visited on his family. His children should be allowed to see their father again. "éirígí is asking all Irish citizens to contact their elected representatives about this case. Pressure needs to be placed on the British government to send Noel home and that pressure needs to come from all quarters of Irish society."
Connolly Association, c/o RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD
Copyright © 2008 Connolly Publications Ltd