[Sinn Fein]

8 August 1997

Sinn Fein Delegation meet Republican Prisoners in English Gaols

A Sinn Fein Delegation consisting of Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty, Cavan Monaghan T.D. Caoimghín O Caoláin and Sinn Fein Prisoners Department representative Bernie Farrell have visited republican prisoners in Whitemoor Prison, Franklin Prison, Full Sutton Prison and will visit Belmarsh Prison. on Saturday morning.In a joint statement Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty and Caoimghín O Caoláin described their visit ``as very important.''

Mr Ó Caoláin and Mr Doherty continued:

``We outlined in some detail the background to Sinn Fein's approach to the IRA prior to their decision to re-introduce their cessation, first declared in August 1994.We gave an account of Sinn Fein's stewardship of its peace strategy and of the most recent direct engagement with representatives of the British government.The specific issues directly effecting our prisoners including the ongoing use of Special Secure Units and repatriation to prisons in Ireland were dealt with in depth.

``We are heartened at the good spirit of our prisoners and by their support for our party's efforts to secure a just and lasting settlement.

``We acknowledge the co-operation of the new British Home Secretary in accommodating these very important contacts.'' ENDS

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