“Irrespective of our  political differences with  The Irish Republicans Support Group we publish this letter as an example of the struggle of Irish Workers and youth against the role of British Imperialism. THE RCIT WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT ANTI IMPERIALIST STRUGGLES FOR A UNITED SOCIALIST IRELAND.”

Irish Republican Prisoners    Support Group

PO Box 59188

London NW2-9LJ









Dear Dr. Mulhall

We wish to bring to you attention the appalling conditions that Republican Prisoners suffer in Portlaoise prison as outlined in a rep[ort in the Irish Times by Conor Lally on 23 December 2015.

He tells us that dissident republican prisoners in Portlaoise Prison are preparing to sue the State over what they believe are degrading and inhumane conditions in the jail. The case is believed to be the first of its kind in the Republic, and follows months of unrest between the prisoners and prison management.

The facility is the only maximum security jail in the State, and houses several factions of republican prisoners as well as the most dangerous and volatile gangland prisoners. The group taking the class action is aligned to Michael McKevitt and those who carried out the Omagh bombing. The members believe conditions in the E2 landing where they are locked up have deteriorated to such an extent that their human rights are being breached.

Photographs of the E2 landing and washroom obtained by The Irish Times appear to show the building in a state of very poor disrepair, including severe damp in washroom areas and cells. Sources close to the prisoners claim some cells have been vacated and taken out of use because of extreme damp.

The dispute between prisoners on the E2 landing and prison management has deteriorated sharply since the summer, with the prisoners ending the normal practice of republican prisoners keeping their own part of the prison clean. They have also blocked prison staff from entering the landing to clean it.

That stand-off had resulted in bags of refuse, including food waste, piling up from the beginning of summer until September. At that point staff began entering the landing at regular intervals at night to clean when prisoners were locked in their cells.

Following talks between Irish Prison Service officials and prisoners’ representatives it was agreed last weekend to bring an end to the refuse protest on the basis that the officials would present a plan in the New Year to address the prisoners’ concerns. However, the prisoners have refused the prison service’s request to set aside their legal action against the State. They have enlisted the services of Louth-based legal firm Dermot Lavery & Co and have engaged Michael O’Higgins SC.

The prisoners invited Independent TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly to visit the prison and examine conditions there, which they did this month. As well as the damp and damaged walls and ceilings, the prisoners are also unhappy that they are still defecating and urinating into buckets in their cells overnight and slopping out in the mornings.

They say slopping out in their section of Portlaoise is continuing at a time when in-cell sanitation has been installed in other prisons, including Mountjoy. They believe asbestos particles are being released because of crumbling walls, and say the quality of the food provided has deteriorated and portions reduced to such an extent that they need to source their own food from outside the jail.

The prisoners also claim washroom facilities are “horrendous”, there is sub-standard healthcare and only infrequent access to a doctor. They also claim pigeons are living in the building, and the prison service has refused requests to have the water tested or allow the HSE or Food Safety Authority inspect the jail. The prisoners have been complaining for years about conditions but the dispute has escalated of late because a number of prisoners from E2 landing have suffered a sharp decline in health.

Five of those on the landing have been diagnosed with different forms of cancer, although no link between their illnesses and the prison conditions has been established.

Ms Daly said conditions in Portlaoise were “Victorian and unacceptable”. She said prison staff performed professionally but the physical conditions – including a leaking roof – were “beyond belief”.

We further urge you to ask the Irish government to intervene in the case of the ‘Craigavon Two’; grave concerns have been raised about the safety of the convictions of both Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton.

Of ongoing concern also is the long established practice of ‘internment by remand’ in Maghaberry in the north of Ireland. The long harassment of the Duffy family, where members of that family are effectively interned in effect for long periods only to have all charges dropped for ‘lack of evidence; when they eventually come to court.

Is sinne le meas

Michael Holden Chair

Gerry Downing Secretary

Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group



Laurence <humphries346@gmail.com>


About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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