Repatriation Campaign for Irish Prisoners Now !
A campaign for the Repatriation of Irish Political Prisoners is currently underway. In an effort to aid the fight for their repatriation please take the time to copy and forward the following appeal below.
It is a sample letter calling for the Repatriation of Irish Prisoners to Irish jails.
If possible distribute this email on to friends, family and comrades in an effort to widen this campaign both nationally and internationally. Please can anyone who is able e-mail or post this letter to the 26 county administration Minister of ‘Justice’ and keep up the fight to bring these prisoners home.
Solidarity with Political Prisoners
Repatriate Irish Political Prisoners Now !
Minister Michael McDowell, T.D.
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
94 St. Stephen’s Green
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Dear Sir :
I am writing (or writing again if you have written before) on behalf of the families of seven Irish citizens currently serving prisons terms in the United Kingdom, whose loved ones have all applied for repatriation under the conditions of the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act
The above named Act states the following in Article 3-Conditions of Transfer :
1. A sentenced person may be transferred under this Convention only on the following conditions :
a. if that person is a national of the administering State ;
b. if the judgment is final ;
c. if, at the time of receipt of the request for transfer, the sentenced person still has at least six months of the sentence to serve or if the sentence is indeterminate ;
d. if the transfer is consented to by the sentenced person or, where in view of his age or his physical or mental condition one of the two States considers it necessary, by the sentenced person’s legal representative ;
e.if the acts or omissions on account of which the sentence has been imposed constitute a criminal offence according to the law of the administering State or would constitute a criminal offence if committed on its territory ; and if the sentencing and administering States agree to the transfer.
The families have been informed by their solicitors that all the above conditions have been met and that all necessary paperwork has been completed and submitted to the Department for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
The stated purpose of the Transfer of Sentenced Persons legislation is a humanitarian one. It is to relieve families of the financial, logistical and emotional burdens of separation and travel for visitation.
The most fundamental underlying principle of the convention and the 1995 Act involves a response, on humanitarian grounds, to the concerns of this jurisdiction in respect of Irish nationals serving sentences in foreign prisons and, as other Members stated, its concerns about their families. It is unnecessary to deprive relatives of access to members of their families incarcerated in foreign prisons. Incarceration is, by definition of the sentence and the law which guides and directs it, an adequate punishment not only for the prisoner serving it but also for his or her family. People should not be deprived of access to members of their families any modern democracy with a degree of humanity must take into account concerns relating to prisoners and the potential for their rehabilitation. (L. Fitzgerald, TD)
I submit that any modern democracy with a degree of humanity, would
also insure that the process is administered fairly and without undue delays.
Some of these families are at two years and counting.
You will continue to receive correspondence from me on this matter until
such time as these families have their loved ones returned to Irish soil.
Thank you for your time in this matter.
Sincerely : (add your name and email address here)
Also, email a Mr Costello, who is currently a member of the 26 county administration and has worked in the past for prisoner’s rights.
Please send the following letter to Mr Costello at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr Costello :
I have been writing for several months now to the Minister of Justice, Equality and Law Reform along with various other TD’s as it concerns the repatriation of seven Irish citizens currently serving prison sentences in England.
Mr. McDowell has only recently responded, for the first time, and informs me that he "is not prepared to make any further comment and that every effort is made to process all applications under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons legislation in the shortest time possible."
In researching the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act I came across the following comments made by you during the debate on amendments to said Act in 1997 :
This legislation has a good and humanitarian purpose and will facilitate families rather than prisoners. It will ensure families will not have to travel long distances, incur large expenses or endure hardship when visiting relations and friends in distance climes. Because we are an island community, anybody visiting a prisoner in another jurisdiction other than Northern Ireland must travel by air or sea, which may be very expensive.
There are considerable concerns about the delay in transfers to date. Approximately two thirds of those who have applied have not had their applications processed. Each jurisdiction seems to blame the other. When I get in touch with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, I am assured there is no delay there and when I contact the Home Office, I am told the same and yet two thirds of applications have been received for 22 months and have not been processed. We need to streamline procedures and set a time scale for processing applications when the prisoner applies. It is important to say that because we are talking about amending legislation for a specific group of prisoners. For the majority of prisoners who have applied, the administrative side has fallen down and they are waiting for their applications to be processed. Prisoners who have contacted me and other Members of this or the other House have made the same complaint. They cannot understand why it takes so long ;
the process is confusing in terms of who is responsible for the delay and they are not kept abreast of where their application stands. These matters should also be addressed.
Nothing has changed, sir. The men currently awaiting repatriation are meeting with "stonewalling" at every turn and the shame of it all is that it is the Irish government playing the political stall game. Their solicitors have told them that all paperwork is in order and that the Ministry is in receipt of it and yet there has been no movement, whatsoever, and in fact, the Ministry is no longer responding to their and their families’ queries.
One of these men has six children and his mother has died during the 18 months he has been awaiting return to Ireland. He was denied compassionate release to attend her funeral. Two of the men are brothers and because they are housed in separate prisons, their family must divide the time of visitation. All the families incur great financial hardships in travel and accommodation as you noted in the above comments.
I know that you have worked in the area of Prisoner’s Rights and I am appealing to you to do whatever you can to bring this matter to light and hasten the process.
I am honoured to write on behalf of the families of Declan Rafferty, Michael McDonald, Fintan O’Farrell, James McCormack, Aiden Hulme, Robert Hulme and Noel Maguire.
Thank you for you consideration in this matter.
Is mise le meas : (add your name and email address here)
Until All Are Free - We Are All Imprisoned !