Northern Ireland: Brendan Lillis dying in Maghaberry Prison

July 11, 2011

Brendan Lillis, a 59 year old former Life-sentence political prisoner from West Belfast, in Ireland, is currently desperately ill in the medical wing of the notorious Maghaberry prison, in County Antrim. He suffers from the intensely painful and progressive disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis.


A testimony: ‘I only get to see bl 2 hours a week. His arm is white and the rest of him is a bit red. He cant move his fingers and sleeps most of the time. He is laying flat on his side, he said he was really hot on my last visit with him and the bed sheets were soaken with sweat. They have been trying to take blood but the vains keep collapsing not sure if they have got any yet. They run out of the urine cardboard things he uses to pass water in. So he has to keep using the same 1 they rinse it at the sink in his cell. And the unit beside his bed is stinking. He trys to drink water but it comes back up. He sips tea through a straw.  Thats the way hes been laying for months, he cant get onto his back at all with the pain. Thats why they took his tooth out in his cell bed its the only position he can just about tolerate. The slightest movement makes him cry out. His condition is critical, he needs to be transported straight to an intensive care unit.’

The news about Brendan Lillis was on a radio in New York:​les/mp3/wbai_110709_130037​rfeireann.mp3this
John McDonagh, Sandy Boyer
WBAI 99.5 FM, Pacifica Radio in NYC


More info:

Friends of Brendan Lillis!/home.php?sk =group_132734503459781

Here is a link for sample letters, printable petitions, and contact info: http://www.irishfreedomcom​​LLIS.htm

Write to David Ford, Justice Minister. It will just take a minute to write a simple letter to tell him Brendan Lillis being held at Maghaberry is a cruel and inhuman treatment, and that he should be released.  Publish your letter on the Internet. Afterwards, the minister has not to come with the excuse that he ‘knew nothing about the tragical case’…

David Ford, Justice Minister
Department of Justice – Block B
Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Northern Ireland


Photo: Brendan Lillis

The group ‘Friends of Brendan Lillis’ has now 720 members.  You can save Brendan Lillis life or prevent that he is dying as a dog in prison by writing to all kind of authorities, international associations of human rights, news agencies, embassies, members of European Parliament.   Share this information !

8 Responses to “Northern Ireland: Brendan Lillis dying in Maghaberry Prison”

  1. kruitvat Says:

    To hear the interview:
    WBAI Archives
    click on the link, then “radio free Eireann”

  2. kruitvat Says:

    Action in the U.S.


    Let’s ensure the prison knows that we are paying very close attention from the US and elsewhere !

    The Irish Freedom Committee is urging all supporters of Irish republican prisoners in the US to place a short phone call tomorrow to Maghaberry Prison Medical Center, to appeal for the immediate humanitarian release of Brendan Lilllis. Brendan’s fiancée Roisin has been told by prison doctors today that he has very little time left to live. Please call the Maghaberry Prison Medical Center tomorrow at the number posted below and ask to speak with Doctor Palmer. Please be polite but firm, and state that you are calling with your urgent concerns for Brendan Lillis, who you have learned is now close to death. Brendan has not left his bed in over a year and a half. You are calling to urge the immediate, compassionate and humanitarian release of this very ill man to his home; so that he may pass in peace with his loved ones around him. All charges against him have been dropped, so there should be no reasonable objection to this humane, and long overdue, decision. Brendan’s fiancée asks that we direct our appeals to Doctor Palmer as she believes that he is a humanistic person who has become frustrated with the system that is responsible for the continued internment of her critically ill loved one in jail without charge.

    Use a calling card and a land line for your MINIMUM expense. Phone 011-44-28-9261-1888. Ask to be transferred to the Medical Center, and ask to speak to Doctor Palmer.
    Time zones in the US are behind Irish 5 hours on the East Coast, 6 hours Central US, 7 hours Southwest, and 8 hours in Pacific Northwest.
    Ideally you should ring between 9AM and 3PM Irish time. BRENDAN’S TIME IS SHORT, and this call will take you less that 5 minutes; and with a calling card, cost you very little. Thank you for your continued support to the families of Irish republican political prisoners.

    by: Irish Freedom Committee, Inc.

    IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE NEWSLIST http://www.irishfreedomcommitt​

  3. kruitvat Says:

    In 2006:

    Mr. Alan Longwell – Governor
    Upper Ballinderry Road
    Lisburn, Co. Antrim
    BT28 2PT

    Mr. Peter Hain – Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
    Block B
    Castle Buildings
    Belfast BT4 3STGTN

    Mr. Robin Masefield – Director General
    Room 321
    Prison Service Headquarters
    Dundonald House
    Upper Newtownards Road
    Belfast BT4 3SU

    Write them, even if they don’t answer. And publish your letter on the Internet.

  4. kruitvat Says:

    In 2006, we had the same problems. The authorities are responsible for the fact that the situation has not improved. They are reponsible for the deaths and suicides.


    June 30, 2006

    Irish Republican political prisoners at Maghaberry contacted the Irish Freedom Committee today to deliver the ominous news that an ongoing protest at the jail has escalated, with 32 republicans of three different organizations now refusing to eat in their cells.

    As documented in our earlier IFC Report from Maghaberry (06/21/06), the selective and inhumane internment conditions at the jail order that republican prisoners eat their meals next to open toilets while confined in their airless cells – a filthy and inhumane provision, and one which the republican prisoners have now united in refusing to accept.

    A republican prisoner has today told us:

    “Whole organizations (in the jail) have come together … nobody is eating food in their cells at all. There are 32 republicans on landings from three different organizations who are refusing to eat their dinner in their cells. We are looking to eat in the canteen and they are not letting us down to eat in the canteen. They’re trying to make us eat it in their cells where there’s a toilet and all. Morale is good among everyone … it’s good to see that everyone is doing the same thing, singing off the same hymn sheet. We’re just waiting for the next stage… Please tell everyone from the IFC we’re keeping our spirits up. We won’t break or we won’t falter… We’re OK.”

    We ask that all of our members and supporters write TODAY to the addresses below and demand an immediate end to the barbaric practice of having men confined in a bathroom to eat. These men are held in one of the highest security jails in Europe and there is no reason why they cannot take their meals in the canteen as other prisoners are allowed to do.


    Copy and paste the sample letter below or use your own words. Please send one copy to the Northern Ireland Prison Service at, and enter one copy in the contact form at the NIO offices at

  5. kruitvat Says:

    Irish Prisoner Facing Death!

    30 juin 2011

    Brendan Lillis, a 59 year old former Life-sentence political prisoner from West Belfast, in Ireland, is currentlydesperately ill in the medical wing of the notorious Maghaberry prison, in County Antrim. He suffers from the intensely painful and progressive disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis which due to other medical complications has left himunable to move from his bed for 14 months and his weight has dropped to a perilous 6 stones (38.1 Kilos !). Due to a series of serious infections and medication which has compromised his immune system, Mr Lillis has been unable to eat, sleep or hold down even liquids for a period close to a month and is constant agony. In short, his health has deteriorated to such an extent that his partner Roisin, who is his only contact with the outside world, fears that he will die in his prison bed!

    Dont let Brendan die in prison!

    Mr Lillis was an Irish Republican political prisoner who had been released on license but unfortunately was wrongfully arrested for an attempted robbery over a year ago. Despite being judged unfit to stand trial, due to his desperate medical condition, Mr Lillis is still being held in Maghaberry prison ‘on license’ due to his previous conviction for Irish Republican political charges and is currently in a ‘Catch 22’ situation, where he can be held indefinitely at the ‘pleasure’ of the British ‘Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr Owen Patterson! . With the ‘Secretary of State’ having the singular power to release Mr Lillis, only public pressure will convince him to allow this seriously ill prisoner to receive the medical treatment he so badly needs and to spend his remaining days with his family, in a non-high security prison environment.

    Mr Lillis’ case is a purelyhumanitarian issue but it is complicated by his political antecedents. Ankylosing Spondylitis, the condition that Mr Lillis suffers from is an intensely painful condition that begins witha curvature of the spine and it has now got to the stage where he is in extreme pain 24 hours a day, with little relief and grossly sub-standard medical care. The Maghaberry prison ‘hospital’ is little more than a ‘sick-bay’ which is guarded by Unionist prison warders, who would be antagonistic to Mr Lillis due to his Irish Republican past.

    Roisin, Mr Lillis’ partner, is understandably beside herself with anxiety and is desperately looking for help with her fledgling campaign to have Brendan treated with dignity. Roisin stated:

    “I am trying my best to highlight this but sadly I’m working alone and don’t have much experience this area but I’m trying my best……For the 1st 10 weeks he had no visits because he couldn’t get into a wheelchair and they wouldn’t let me into the jail, after a lot of debates with the jail i was eventually allowed to visit him in his cell which i have done since then. as you all no Brendan is now in a precarious situation and if he doesn’t get released from jail i am in no doubts he will die soon.”

    Mr Lillis’ case should be a concern for everyone on humanitarian grounds alone and it would appear that only public pressure will make the Secretary of State notice the plight of a seriously ill, 59 year old man, in Maghaberry top-security prison, who is in constant pain on a daily basis and whose weight has plummeted to a dangerous 6 stone. Anyone who can help is asked to contact:

    politicians in Ireland, the UK, the USA and elsewhere
    humanitarian organisations
    the ‘Secretary of state for Northern Ireland’ Owen Patterson
    anyone who can help with Mr Lillis’ plight
    In conclusion, this is an obvious case where a human being is gravely ill, in constant pain and being kept in an environment where he is clearly not receiving anything like the medical care he needs. Mr Lillis’ family are imploringanyonewho can help with his plight to assist in whatever way they can. Mr Lillis’ case is a humanitarian issue that anyone, irrespective of political allegiance, can feel safe supporting. It is a sad indictment on society, in the 21st Century, that a human being is being held in these conditions.

    Mr Lillis’ partner Roisin has simply asked for help to save her partner’s life, don’t let her fight alone.

    By Iskra1916

  6. kruitvat Says:

    World Health Organization, Europe: Prisons and Health in Europe…
    Recognizing the need to promote health and tackle health inequalities in prison settings, WHO/Europe initiated the WHO Health in Prisons Project (HIPP) in 1995.​t-we-do/health-topics/health-d​eterminants/prisons-and-health

    Brenda van den Bergh, Technical Officer, Prisons Health
    Phone: +45 3917 1401
    Fax: +45 3917 1818

    WHO Regional Office for Europe
    Scherfigsvej 8
    DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø

    We will contact them.

  7. kruitvat Says:

    World Health Organization, Europe:

    ‘Recognizing the need to promote health and tackle health inequalities in prison settings, WHO/Europe initiated the WHO Health in Prisons Project (HIPP) in 1995.

    At any given time, over 2 million people are imprisoned in penal institutions in Europe. A prison sentence often entails an increased risk of becoming seriously ill or a lost opportunity to recover from an existing illness or dependency. Prisoners who are healthy on entry have a considerable risk of leaving prison with HIV, tuberculosis, a drug problem or poor mental health. Those who enter with a drug or other health-related problem often leave without having received proper medical attention.

    Prisoners come from and usually return to the community. Limiting the spread of communicable diseases in prison thus benefits both prisoners and the wider community and reduces the burdens on a country’s health system as a whole.’

  8. kruitvat Says:

    Brendan Lillis dies: Open Letter to the British Prime Minister…

    Brussels, 12 July 2011

    Prime Minister’s Office

    Dear Sir,

    During years and years, I am working about human rights, so well on a national as international level.

    I am very shocked by the violations of human rights and the many deaths and suicides in the prisons of Northern Ireland.

    I refer to the case of Brendan Lillis in the Maghaberry prison of Northern Ireland where 5 men died during the last months.

    Brendan Lillis is a very sick man. During several months, he is in bed. He cannot almost move or talk anymore. He can not eat or drink normally and risks every moment to die.

    I wrote to Pauline McCabe, Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, who answered me that she ‘can not be helpfull’ while her service investigates since 2005 all the deaths in prisons.

    We contacted Justice Minister David Ford who seems not to be worried about the life of Brendan Lillis and the inhuman situations in prisons.

    May I pray you to intervene in this tragical case ?

    Yours faithfully,

    Jan Boeykens

    Werkgroep Morkhoven
    Contact the Prime Minister’s Office

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: