Brendan Lillis dying in Maghaberry prison: Justice Minister David Ford

July 19, 2011

In Belgium the Minister of Justice accepted, what is called, the ‘release on conditions’ of political prisoners who were very sick or dying.

Justice Minister Ford of Northern Ireland, can do the same in the case of Brendan Lillis, if he wants. But it is a pure political case for him. He is afraid that the release of Brendan, will be seen as a victory by ‘a small number of prisoners and their allies outside the prisons’.

On 7 May 2010, speaking of an incident that took place in Roe House at Maghaberry Prison he said: “This is the latest in a series of actions by a small number of prisoners, designed to form the impression that they are being mistreated. Just as their allies outside the prisons are trying to take Northern Ireland backwards by their campaign of violence, these prisoners are trying to take prisons backwards. They seem determined to create conditions which they will then complain about, but they will have no-one to blame but themselves.”

Minister Ford is also afraid for an investigation to the prison system in Northern Ireland. During the latest months, there were 5 deaths in the Maghaberry prison in Northern Ireland. He can not say, as was the case in 2010, that this is ‘the latest in a series of actions by a small number of prisoners, designed to form the impression that they are being mistreated.’ Because nobody will believe that.

Ford thinks as a real politician who wants to survive as a politician and who is not able anymore to think in a human way.
He has apparently chosen for his own political position. That is why Brendan has to die.​ondemns_dissident_action_at_ma​ghaberry

Photo: Justice Minister David Ford, responsible for the prison policy in Northern Ireland


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 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!



BBC interview with Brendan Lillis’ partner Roisin Lynch (18.7.2011):​onsole/bbc_radio_foyle#freshSi​gnin=true or

Click on​onsole/b012m7nh

Then go forward to 1:05:05 – 7 days left to listen again

Friends of Brendan Lillis:

Sign the petition:​/releaseBrendylilli

8 Responses to “Brendan Lillis dying in Maghaberry prison: Justice Minister David Ford”

  1. kruitvat Says:

    David Ford (born 24 February 1951) is a politician who is a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Ford has been leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland since 2001 and has been Northern Ireland Minister of Justice since April 2010.

    Ford was born on 24 February 1951 to Northern Irish and Welsh parents and grew up in Orpington, Kent, England. Ford was educated at Warren Road Primary School, Orpington and Dulwich College, London. He spent summer holidays on his uncle’s farm in Gortin, County Tyrone, and moved to Northern Ireland permanently in 1969 when he went to study Economics at Queen’s University Belfast. There he joined the university’s student Alliance Party grouping. After graduating, Ford took a year out to work as a volunteer at the ecumenical Corrymeela Community in Ballycastle, County Antrim, before starting work as a social worker in 1973.

    Ford stood unsuccessfully for Antrim Borough Council in 1989, and entered politics full-time when be became general secretary of the Alliance Party. In that role, he was best known as a strong supporter of the then-leader John Alderdice and an advocate of better political organisation and community politics. He was elected to Antrim Borough Council in 1993, 1997 and – after leaving the Council in 2001 to concentrate on Assembly business – again in 2005.
    In 1996, Ford stood unsuccessfully for election to the Northern Ireland Forum in South Antrim, but was a key member[citation needed] of Alliance’s team to the talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement. In 1997, he obtained 12% of the vote in the British General Election in South Antrim, and in 1998 was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in the constituency of the same name. He fought South Antrim again in the 2000 by-election and in the 2001 and 2005 general elections.

  2. kruitvat Says:

    Alliance Party leadership

    In 2001, Séan Neeson resigned from the Party leadership following poor election results. David Ford won the leadership election on 6 October by 86 votes to 45, ahead of Eileen Bell. Ford was identified[by whom?] with the more Liberal, internationalist wing of Alliance, while Bell was a more traditionalist, bridge-building, candidate.[citation needed] Notably, Ford was also the only Alliance MLA to be also a member of the Liberal Democrats at the time.
    Ford outlined his internationalist view point in his speech at the leadership selection when he said:
    I am keen to co-operate with other non-sectarian groups in Northern Ireland, including political parties that will stand against the tribal divide. Our links to the South are not as good as they should be, either with the PDs or with Fine Gael, where we have many natural allies. We must also recognise that Northern Ireland is not unique in the world. Our stand is not different in substance from those who work for peace and reconciliation in Cyprus, Palestine or Bosnia. We should learn from friends abroad. To suggest that ‘our wee province’ is unique is to do a disservice. There is little more objectionable than the sight of the political begging bowl being dragged out by sectional politicians.
    Ford gave Alliance a stability which it had lacked since the departure of John Alderdice, but the Party had declined seriously in the late 1990s and all Ford could do was stabilise the situation. Within a month of taking over the leadership, however, Ford had a chance to establish Alliance’s relevancy in the post-Good Friday Agreement environment – on 6 November 2001, the Northern Ireland Executive was to be re-established. However, due to defections within his own Ulster Unionist Party, First Minister David Trimble, had insufficient support within the Unionist bloc in the Assembly to be re-elected to his post. Ford and two of his five colleagues re-designated as Unionist, for just 22 minutes, in order to secure Trimble’s position, and thereby enabled the devolved institutions to operate for another year. However, Alliance failed to make any political gains from their move, and the UUP and Sinn Féin failed to reach agreement on the decommissioning issue, ensuring that the institutions collapsed again in October 2002.
    In the Northern Ireland Assembly Elections of 2003, Ford’s seat in the Assembly was perceived to be under severe threat from Sinn Féin’s Martin Meehan, with many commentators expecting him to lose it. However, Ford’s expertise in nuts and bolts electioneering stood him in good stead. Although Alliance’s vote almost halved, Ford’s own vote in South Antrim increased from 8.6% to 9.1%. Meehan’s vote increased dramatically, from 7.3% to 11.5%, and he started the election count ahead. However Ford had much greater transfer appeal and finished 180 votes ahead of Meehan at the end of a dramatic three-way fight for the last two seats, with the SDLP’s Thomas Burns just 14 votes ahead of Ford. Despite the dramatic fall in vote, Alliance, almost miraculously, held on to its six seats in the Assembly, which remained suspended.[1]
    In 2004, Ford made good his leadership election pledge to work with other parties, as Alliance joined with the Workers’ Party, Northern Ireland Conservatives and elements of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition to support Independent candidate John Gilliland[2] in the European elections, achieving the best result for the centre ground for 25 years.
    Ford’s greatest triumph came in the 2007 Northern Ireland Assembly election, when the party achieved its highest vote share since Alderdice’s departure and picked up a seat in what was an otherwise poor election for the moderates. Despite media predictions once again of his demise, Ford himself was elected third in South Antrim, with over 13% of the poll. In the 2011 Assembly elections, the Alliance Party managed to increase their vote by 50% gaining an extra seat in East Belfast and surpassing the Ulster Unionist Party in Belfast.

  3. kruitvat Says:

    Northern Ireland Justice Minister

    On 12 April 2010, Ford was chosen by the Assembly to become Northern Ireland’s first Justice Minister in 38 years. Ford was supported in the Assembly by the DUP, Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party, the Green Party and the Progressive Unionist Party. Separate candidates for the position were put forward by both the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP, being Danny Kennedy and Alban McGuinness respectively.

  4. kruitvat Says:

    Personal life

    David Ford is married to Anne, has four grown-up children and lives in rural County Antrim. He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

  5. kruitvat Says:

    …Ford was supported in the Assembly by the DUP, Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party, the Green Party and the Progressive Unionist Party…

    Is it for that reason that all these political parties don’t do anything for the release and a human solution of Brendan ?

  6. kruitvat Says:


    Justice Minister David Ford has vowed to reshape the justice system to fit the needs of the people of Northern Ireland.
    ~ Thursday, 16 September 2010

    ‘Devolution brings challenges as well as opportunities and as we start to reshape the justice system we have a real opportunity now to look afresh for local ideas and solutions as well as for examples of best practice internationally’
    Minister of Justice David Ford MLA,
    Northern Ireland Department of Justice

    Addressing delegates at The Future of Human Rights in the United Kingdom Conference in Belfast today, the Minister outlined how devolution presents a new opportunity to look for solution to problems in the best interests of Northern Ireland, and not just adopt what has been done in England and Wales.

    And he said that human rights in Northern Ireland must be focused on the development of a shared community which respects individuals.

    David Ford said: “Justice, human rights and the impartial rule of law are all interdependent and any new policy initiatives from the Department of Justice will reflect that.

    “I know the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission will be keeping a watchful eye on whatever proposals the Department will bring forward and I welcome their views as we seek to make use of our new opportunities.

    “Devolution brings challenges as well as opportunities and as we start to reshape the justice system we have a real opportunity now to look afresh for local ideas and solutions as well as for examples of best practice internationally.

    “Any reshaping will have to reflect the human rights framework in which we operate.”

    The Minister also highlighted the challenge of striking the right balance between civil liberties and the protection of the public.

    He said: “We must not allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated, where responses what would not have been acceptable in other parts of the UK were allowed here.

    “Our response to those who use violence must demonstrate how far this community has moved on and how much further we want to go.

    “We will build a safer Northern Ireland by keeping our focus on the future that we want to achieve rather than being diverted to the past that a tiny minority want to drag us back to.”

    On the current Human Rights debate in Northern Ireland the Minister said: “Above all, we require a human rights framework which, while reflecting the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, is focused on the development of a shared community which respects individuals rather than on the permanent management of a divided community which recognises only two groups.”

    Notes to editors:

    All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.

  7. Boeykens Says:

    Links to All Latest News Articles:

    Ms Campbell Speech Andytown –​=wCt1DyQv0bQ&feature=related

    Gerard Hogkins Speech Andytown –​=OuRjhWg1hXE&feature=related

    Roisin’s Speech Andytown –​=lrVDu_fnKtE

    Derry Journal 23rd July –​ws/local/families_support_lill​is_campaign_1_2893702

    Belfast 32 –​2011/07/72-hour-fast-for-brend​an-lillis_22.html
    Utv Latest from Andytown –​o/138104/113062

    Republican Socialist News –

    Belfast Telegraph –​.uk/news/local-national/northe​rn-ireland/release-brendan-lil​lis-campaigners-go-on-hunger-s​trike-16026395.html

    Eirigi Statement –​atest220711.html

    Prisoners Action Group – http://prisoners-action-group.​​/22/actions-for-dying-brenda-l​illis-are-a-success.html

    From Corsica – http://infurmazione.unita-nazi​​prisonnier-politique-est-en-tr​ain-de-mourir-en-prison/2011/

    WorkersSolidarityMovement –​llis-partner-solidarity-hunger​-strike

    IrishFreedomCommittee – http://www.irishfreedomcommitt​

    HumanRightsGroup – http://humanrightsgroup.wordpr​​eland-brendan-lillis-dying-in-​maghaberry-prison/

    UTV 21st July –​n-join-call-for-prisoners-rele​ase/e781f523-690e-4ff6-b080-a4​36525ad8f9 New York –​ws/Northern-Ireland-man-held-i​n-jail-over-1976-crime-despite​-having-served-his-sentence–V​IDEO-125943423.html

    Prisoners Action Group – http://prisoners-action-group.​​/21/northern-ireland-actions-f​or-brendan-lillis.html – http://www.www.socialistworker​.org/2011/07/21/let-brendan-li​llis-go-home

    The Pensive Quill 20th July –​/07/on-bridge-of-peace.html –​/767/127/Irish_Prisoner_Facing​_Death.html

    U.105 News –​Hunger-strike-over-Maghaberry-​inmate/3dc377af-2cea-42e6-a366​-c907c5fc3a65

    Derry Journal 19th July –​ws/local/hunger_strike_at_free​_derry_1_2878427

    The Irish Observer – http://theirishobserver.blogsp​​aghaberry-jail-600-days.html

    Workers Solidarity Movement –​endan-lillis-now

    Hub Pages iskra1916 –​hub/Brendan-Lillis-Irish-Priso​ner-Being-Allowed-To-Die-in-Ma​ghaberry-Gaol

    Human Rights Movement Belgium – http://mensenrechten-droits-de​​/2011/07/20/actions-for-brenda​n-lillis-hungerstrike-thursday​-21st-july-2.html

    Derry 32 csm –

    IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS –​rent/news/2011/07/blanketman_o​n_the_threshold.html

    Human Rights Group – http://humanrightsgroup.wordpr​​eland-brendan-lillis-dying-in-​maghaberry-prison/

    Derry Sinn Fein –​ws/20196

    SDLP –​ewsroom_media/newsarticle/east​wood_calls_on_sos_to_help_secu​re_release_of_brendan_lillis/

    The Pensive Quill aka Anthony McIntyre –​/07/brendan-lillis-press-relea​se.html

    WordPress – http://prisonsofshame.wordpres​​s-dying-some-words-to-justice-​minister-david-ford/

    Troops Out Movement – http://www.troopsoutmovement.c​om/campaigns.htm

    Organised Rage Blog –​011/07/brendan-lillis-press-re​lease.html

    UTV –​rike-over-Maghaberry-inmate/3d​c377af-2cea-42e6-a366-c907c5fc​3a65

    Audio from Pilots Row meeting –​=xPlrXlHcyIo&

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