A 22 to 24 hour solitary confinement regime imposed for almost a year on a man serving a life sentence for the murder of a teenage girl amounts to a “clear sustained violation of his right to bodily and psychological integrity” the high courts have ruled.
“Prisoners are citizens of the Republic and entitled to full protection of the constitutional rights that remain to them” Mr Justice Brian Cregan said.
The authorities at Wheatfield Prison, Dublin, claimed Daniel McDonnell, 20, was kept apart from the prison population for his own safety. Mr Justice Cregan found the regime McDonnell had been subject to for the last 11 months breached his constitutional rights to bodily and psychological integrity.”
The Judge said “that breach was unlawful and neither necessary nor appropriate to the perceived threat…while the regime has been described as 22 to 23 hour per day lock it was to all intention purposes solitary confinement.”
*Rights of Prisoner Infringed says Judge, Irish Times 18-02-15
For almost 1500 days Republican Political Prisoner, Gavin Coyle has endured forced isolation which is as the High Court Judge Cregan stated was “to all intention purposes solitary confinement.” This is truly abhorrent and is something that Politicians, Human Rights Bodies and all those concerned with common decency should be shouting from the rooftops about. The psychological impact alone on Gavin will probably not be fully realised until long after he is released. The emotional suffering endured by his family every day of his ordeal will probably never be known.
Regardless of the historical claims put out by the Jail Security Department, that have been proven false by Gavin’s comrade’s actions; including the entire Republican Wing undergoing a 3 day Hunger Strike demanding he be moved to the Republican Wing, Gavin should be immediately moved to Roe House where he is not only welcome but belongs.
Gavin is in constant contact with IRPWA representatives and his comrades on the Republican Wing. Gavin will visit these same comrades in a few short months when he is finally released. Every group, body and individual who has ever visited the Republican Wing has been told by all Republican Prisoners here that no threat exists, or ever did exist and that Gavin should be moved immediately to Roe House.
The silence of the Catholic Church on this issue is both deafening and disgraceful. Politicians who were once Political Prisoners themselves and who suffered equal brutality in British Jails should be as vocal about this cruelty as they were when their party leader was arrested. A young Irish Republican has endured 1500 days of solitary confinement; it is time to let your voices be heard.
Republican Political Prisoners hereby call on all those concerned with justice and human rights to condemn and highlight this basic humanitarian issue. The bigoted and sectarian Maghaberry Jail administration has long ago had their pound of flesh. Gavin and his family have suffered enough of this abject cruelty. Gavin should be moved to Republican Roe House now.
Republican Political Prisoners