Friday, August 4, 2017

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Untruths Dónal Billings Must Address

Statement from E3/E4 Portlaoise Republican Prisoners regarding Dónal Billings.

On behalf of Republican Prisoners E3/E4 we make the following statement.

Despite being reluctant to make statements regarding internal issues and individuals, we feel it necessary to clarify a few points relating to recent allegations. Contrary to what people on the outside have heard or believe Dónal Billings is not now, nor has he been, refusing food as part of any protest. Mr Billings left E Block, by agreement, on Sunday July 31st following conversations with all groups.

Since Mr Billings entered the jail late last year, we on E3/E4 found ourselves reluctantly drawn into negotiation and mediation between Mr Billings and other non-aligned prisoners, as a result of Mr Billings’ behaviour.

In December 2016, after only 2 weeks in jail, Mr Billings was ejected from the CIRA landing for un-republican conduct and following intervention from ourselves on E3/34, was accommodated on E1, where he accepted the Block’s code of conduct.

In March 2017, Mr Billings physically assaulted two POWs on E3 following Sunday Mass. He then refused to leave the landing and had to be physically removed by prison staff. Despite the seriousness of this incident, no action was taken by our unit, due to Mr Billings’ personal difficulties. Subsequently, Mr Billings was facilitated by the jail administration for religious services on E1.

There have been insistences where Mr Billings is alleged to have taken tools from E1 workshop and hid them in his cell, and was alleged to be making shiv-type weapons. The prison administration was aware of this and asked for E3/E4 staff to mediate and retrieve the tools/weapons, under threat of the prison being overturned in a search. Our unit was asked to mediate on behalf of all.

We were made aware by the jail administration of an attempt by Mr Billings to go live on radio. There would have been implications and consequences for E Block. When approached by us, Mr Billings gave an undertaking to desist but then ignored the promises which he made.

Mr Billings has engaged in ongoing intimidation of other POWs on E1 – issuing threats of violence and slandering POWs. He also physically threatened an older POW aligned to IRPWA housed on E1. Our unit was made aware that prisoners on E1 intended to take action against him. Our unit used our influence to avert this.

Mr Billings continually disrupted E1 education classes, with teachers present, denying POWs the right to education. Mr Billings continued to undermine republican prisoners’ access to all forms of education on E1. E1 prisoners repeatedly approached us to resolve this matter on their behalf.

Contrary to misinformation, Mr Billings has always been allocated visiting boxes and yard times on request, like everybody else. It has never been this unit’s policy to sit-in on anybody’s legal or personal visits. Any suggestion to the contrary is a complete fabrication, malicious in nature and designed to undermine the republican prisoner’s charter in the jail.

Haircuts are never an issue, as the jail supplies a barber on a weekly basis. POWs past and present know this to be a fact.

POWs on E1 asked E3/E4 staff to mediate in ongoing clashes on E1 amongst themselves. Each POW, including Mr Billings, was given an opportunity to air their differences. Following a two-hour consultation, a clean slate was agreed. 10 minutes later, Mr Billings approached POWs on E2, and slandered the staff on E3/E4. E2 POWs declined to get involved, and informed E3/E4 staff. This is a further example of E3/E4 being asked to mediate following problems manufactured by Mr Billings with other groupings.

It is the policy of E3/E4 to promote and encourage the use of the Irish language. Classes in Irish on our landings are held twice-weekly. We have a number of Irish speakers on our landings. Mr Billings took issue with, and undermined our Irish teacher, a fellow POW, believing his Irish to be superior to everyone else’s. It is preposterous to suggest that we would discriminate against a fellow Irish speaker regardless of who it is.

Mr Billings approached two POWs on E3/E4 in recent weeks and made serious allegations. He could not substantiate these allegations when asked to do so. On investigation, these allegations were found to be malicious and unfounded. No evidence to the contrary was offered.

Use of the library was never an issue, contrary to what Mr Billings might say. Mr Billings availed of the library on numerous occasions.

Mr Billings has ongoing issues with POWs on E1 and they do not want to facilitate him on their landing because of continued unrepublican conduct. It is not for us to elaborate on this, as they speak on their own behalf. Decisions regarding Mr Billings, were not taken lightly, but were cognisant of his personal difficulties, circumstances and relationships with other non-aligned prisoners. These decisions were taken in the interests of the integrity and security of all republican prisoners in E Block, following consultations with all landings involved. Mr Billings has a personal responsibility to address the untruths of recent days, but regardless, the republican prisoners in E Block will not be deflected by mistruths or malicious statements inside or outside the jail, or from any quarter.

We remain committed to providing a safe, hostile-free and supportive environment in the most difficult of circumstances for all Republican Prisoners in E block regardless of their political affiliations.

Republican Prisoners
E3/E4
Portlaoise
02/08/17

2 comments :

Emmett Grogan said...

Is it fair to assume that Mr Billings is, what's known in the trade as, a "fecking headcase" who needs his head examined. His lone wolf, bus bomb, operation was enough to raise questions of his sanity. Id say Mr billings was a handful for the wing and they collectively came to the conclusion that they could no longer handle Mr billings as he was gradually morphing into a john Rambo type figure. Instead of long winded political statements all that was needed to debunk the myths was to state "dear outside world the prison leadership have established that Donal is as wild as big joe joyce and we cannot handle him therefore he had to be removed" had I read that id have never doubted the writers integrity.

But hey perhaps he really has mellowed in his old age and the POWs are telling lies lol

Republican Supporter said...

As regards any statements made by Mr. Billings against the POWs on E3 and E4 wings I can certainly say without any doubt in my mind that I do not and never will believe a word of it. I have had a personal relationship with Mr. Billings in the past and know him to be quite physically, verbally and mentally abusive. I have had my own experiences with him regarding untruths told by him against me and others. I cannot believe for one second that he would be kicked off of a wing because other POWs are jealous of the fact that he can speak Gaelic better then them. Anyone who believes such nonsense should have their head examined. I am so glad that I got the chance to read the above noted article as I knew that there were many more truthful facts behind this story that were never told until now. I know for a fact that the POWs on E3 and E4 wing have nothing less then the utmost of character, integrity and compassion and would never treat another republican POW in such a manner. So before anyone ever again attempts to rescue Mr. Billings from the Big Bad Wolfs on E3 and E4 wing please remember that there are always two sides to a story and the truth in this case is more likely than not coming from the leadership of the E3 and E4 wing and no one else.