[Sinn Fein]

8 August 1997

Political Prisoners must be released - Adams

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking at the Saoirse press conference this morning called for the ``immediate release of republican prisoners from Britain to jails closer to their families in Ireland.'' The Sinn Fein President also stated that `` the release of all political prisoners, whether in Ireland, in Britain or the United States is an integral part of this conflict resolution process.''

Mr Adams continued:

I want to commend both the prisoners and their families who have endured much hardship with great dignity over many years.

I also wanted to applaud the many others who have worked tirelessly and courageously on behalf of republican political prisoners.

The release of all political prisoners, whether in Ireland, north or south, in Britain or in the United States is an integral part of this conflict resolution process Sinn Fein is totally committed to securing the release of all political prisoners. I t is an integral part of our peace strategy.

I would like this morning to particularly focus on the plight of republican prisoners in Britain. The conditions under which these prisoners are held has been especially brutal. Recently I spoke to Maria, the wife of `Dingus' Magee, who along with her children has not seen her husband/their father since before the IRA cessation of August 1994- over three years.

``This is a disgraceful situation which the last British government has to bear respectability for. Looking back it is clear from his approach to the political prisoners issue that John Major was never serious about the peace process. The conditions of prisoners held in Britain significantly worsened and of course we had the vindictive decisions around Paddy Kelly which eventually led to his death from skin cancer few months ago.

``We now have a new opportunity to build a proper peace process. The issue of prisoners, their treatment and ultimately their release are a critical part of that. In the short term all SSU's should be closed and all Irish political prisoners in Britain should be transferred to Ireland.''

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