[Sinn Fein]

26th July 2002

Sinn Fein TDs call for release of Castlerea Prisoners

Three of Sinn Fein's five TDs today visited Republican prisoners in Castlerea prison to discuss their continued detention in contravention of the Good Friday Agreement. The TDs were Seán Crowe, Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Arthur Morgan. The meeting was arranged at the request of the prisoners. Speaking after the meeting Deputy Seán Crowe said:

"We went to Castlerea today to listen to the concerns of the prisoners and to express our continued support for their immediate release. It is quite clear under the Good Friday Agreement these prisoners qualify for early release. The Good Friday Agreement states categorically that all prisoners belonging to organisations on ceasefire qualify for early release and that that release should happen no later than two years after the agreement is signed. That was 1998. It is now 2002. The Government is in clear breach of its commitments under the Agreement. The men should be released immediately.

"While recognising the pain and suffering that the release of the prisoners may cause for some and not wishing to add further to it Sinn Fein maintains the view that there can be no exceptions. There is nothing my colleagues or I could possibly say or do that could lessen the sense of loss suffered by the McCabe family. However I strongly believe that these prisoners must not be used as political hostages. We all signed up to the Agreement in good faith. Republicans have lived up to our responsibilities others must do likewise."

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