Brendan Lillis dying: Some words to Justice Minister David Ford

July 20, 2011

Brussels, July 20th 2011

Dear Mister Ford,

If you would decide to show a little compassion for Brendan Lillis and Roisin Lynch, partner of Brendan, then I would strongly appreciate that, Mr. Ford. Don’t see them as your political ennemies but as human beings, please.

I will write you a final letter today asking you again to release Brendan and I call for Brendan’s release on purely humanitarian grounds so that he might die at home.

Do not wait too long with your decision, Mr. Ford.

I heard that you want to organize now a new meeting ‘to discuss the medical condition’ of Brendan. I don’t think that it would be a good idea. It will be too late for Brendan and it would be just terrible for Roisin. It will also undermine the credibility of the representatives of the DUP, Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party, the Green Party and the Progressive Unionist Party who supported you to become Northern Ireland’s first Justice Minister in 38 years.

Jan Boeykens
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!
Links:BBC interview with Brendan Lillis’ partner Roisin Lynch (18.7.2011):​onsole/bbc_radio_foyle#freshSi​gnin=trueor click on​onsole/b012m7nh
Then go forward to 1:05:05 – 7 days left to listen again

On 14-7-11 Roisin Lynch, partner of Brendan Lillis, spoke at a meeting in Pilot’s Row Derry.
Release Brendan Lillis – YouTube –

Sign the petition:​/releaseBrendylilli

Become member of the group Friends of Brendan Lillis:​s/Friends.Of.Brendan.Lillis?re​f=ts

Photo: Brendan Lillis, dying in Maghaberry prison

4 Responses to “Brendan Lillis dying: Some words to Justice Minister David Ford”

  1. kruitvat Says:

    Regret at death of prisoner in Maghaberry: ‘The report of the Ombudsman has identified some learning points…’​000500/regret_at_death_of_fore​ign_national_prisoner_in_magha​berry.html (Website of the Alliance Party that has Justice Minister David Ford as leader)

  2. kruitvat Says:

    Rsf Munster on Friends of Brendan Lillis

    Running Out Of Time

    Brendan Lillis is a prisoner who suffers from a debilitating illness known as ankylosing spondylitis. He is seriously ill; so serious in fact that those closest to him are of the view that he is dying. His partner informed a meeting in Derry a few evenings back that it was her view he that could be dead within ten days. Some sources within the Northern Ireland Prison Service are thought to be of a similar mind. If so it does not leave much time.

    Why Brendan Lillis continues to be held in Maghaberry Prison by British prison authorities for activity he carried out while a member of the Provisional IRA in the 1970s is understood but rarely acknowledged. The initial robbery charges that led to his life sentence licence being revoked in 2009 have since been withdrawn. There is no reason specific to him that would justify his continued detention. He is a pawn in a wider political game, one of those exceptions that proves the rule, British rule.

    Despite the ground that Northern society is supposed to have covered since the end of the Provisional IRA’s armed struggle, there are buried beneath that ground issues that few want to talk about; issues that were supposed to have been resolved by the new dispensation; issues that were red hot when the IRA campaign was in full throttle and were often cited as reasons that legitimised the use of arms.

    Consequently a man, whose energy and activity were ingredients in the fuel that drove republican activism forward, who was part of the arduous blanket protest, and whose investment in the republican project has been used to purchase the current political arrangement, is now banged up because of it. He is in the custody of the same prison service as before, being subjected to the same rights abuses as before, and seemingly being left to die, like others before. In blatant contradiction of its own guidelines outlined in its Corporate and Business Plan the Northern Ireland Prison Service is not providing Brendan Lillis with a health regime appropriate to his needs.

    Brendan Lillis is now reputed to weigh little more than 5 stone. He has been confined to bed for 600 days. He receives 40 tablets a day for his condition. The Life Sentence Review Commission has tried to postpone a date for a hearing of his case, meaning he is to be shackled to the system that is killing him that much longer. Each day that this grave situation is permitted to continue a little bit of Brendan Lillis dies.

    This former blanket protestor will emerge from prison one way or the other. The British Government knows it cannot hold onto him for much longer. But it seems confident it can hold onto him until such times as his case becomes the legal remit of the coroner. This is vindictive and born of mean spirit.

    Whatever about the political connotations interweaved with this case there is one very salient feature that cannot be suppressed. A very sick man is being held in prison and is likely to die there. The humanitarian grounds for releasing him far outweigh the political considerations that are feeding into his ongoing imprisonment.

    The party best placed to bring pressure to bear is Sinn Fein. Despite its claims to have been in the prison on seven occasions in the past year, its sole achievement is to have been in the prison seven times. It has produced little in the way of progress. In fact after its seven visits the situation if anything has deteriorated. It can get itself into prison seven times but cannot get Brendan Lillis out once.

    The party appears hesitant to go at the issue in a full blown and public manner because to do so would flag up that because of its failure to deliver substantive gains the British are still able to use a weapon of political policing to detain Brendan Lillis. And it is not that Brendan Lillis is being held for political views that he holds but as a warning to others as to what lies in store if they do not acquiesce.

    This is a demonstration of British political power over republican impotence. It is an in-your-face assertion that the big issues on terms of conflict related imprisonment were never settled but conveniently parked in the British favour. And in order to prove the point the British are prepared to fire a coffin across the bows of its adversaries.

  3. kruitvat Says:

    Tuesday, 19 July 2011

    Hunger strike over Maghaberry inmate

    The partner of a Maghaberry inmate is to take part in a three-day hunger strike, over the conditions in which Brendan Lillis – who suffers from arthritic condition ankylosing spondylitis – is being held.

    The 59-year-old has spent 600 days lying in a bed in Maghaberry’s hospital.

    The west Belfast man was charged in connection with an attempted tiger robbery in 2009 but, earlier this year, the authorities said he was too ill to stand trial.

    However, because of a legal loophole, he is still in prison.

    In the 1970s, he served a 17-year sentence on explosives charges but – because his licence was revoked when he was re-arrested two years ago – he is esentially in prison now for a crime he committed in 1976.

    His partner, Roisin Allsopp, has been campaigning for his release.

    “The charges against my partner were shelved last February,” she told UTV.

    “He is now coming to the end of his second year in jail. There are no charges against him at the minute.

    “He is not a danger to anybody. If they wanted their pound of flesh, I can tell you, they’ve got it.”

    Roisin, along with former republican hunger strikers, will begin their protest on Thursday.

    A preliminary hearing is being held by the Parole Commissioners to decide if Lillis should be released.

    In a statement, the NI Prison Service said it – and its health care partner, the South Eastern Trust – had made “strenuous efforts to ensure Mr Lillis’s full health care needs have been and are continuing to be met in a satisfactory manner”.

    The statement continued: “Given the current circumstances, there are not sufficient and exceptional grounds to justify his release on compassionate grounds.”

  4. 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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