[Sinn Fein]

21 May 1996

Doherty calls for repatriation of Republican prisoners

Prior to his departure from Dublin airport this evening, to visit Republican prisoners in Full Sutton jail, Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty welcomed today's repatriation of Brendan Dowd from Whitemoor prison to Portlaoise but called for the speedy repatriation of all Republican Prisoners from English jails and for the release of all political prisoners.

Mr. Doherty said:

``While we welcome today's repatriation of Republican Prisoner Brendan Dowd from Whitemoor Prison to Portlaoise this has only happened after several months of stalling and prevarication from Michael Howard and the British Home Office. Brendan Dowd has already served 21 years of a sentence and should have been released before now.

``Conditions for Irish Republican prisoners in English jails have continued to deteriorate over the last number of months as is obvious from the treatment of Pat Kelly prior to his transfer to Maghaberry. This is despite the high public attention attached to his case.

``Legislation to allow for the repatriation of Irish prisoners from English jails has been in existence for six months now but we have only seen the repatriation of two Repubican prisoners to date. A further twenty two prisoners still await repatriation. Sinn Fein calls for the speedy repatriation of all Republican prisoners and for the release of all political prisoners.''

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