A SECOND dissident republican group has ended their “dirty protest” in the top security Maghaberry prison.
The Continuity IRA – formed as the military wing of Republican Sinn Fein in the early 1990s following a split with Provisional Sinn Fein – said the protest would be suspended from as and from today.
The decision was made public following statements to The Guardian and The Irish News newspapers in a message sent from CIRA’s so-called “commanding officer” in the Co Antrim jail.
CIRA inmates have been refusing to wash and in some cases smearing their cells with excrement in the same way IRA prisoners did during the H-block crisis in the Maze prison, in the years prior to the 1981 hunger strike.
The dissident republican terror group began its protest six months ago in opposition to full body searches as part of the prison’s security regime.
The CIRA has joined the other republican factions represented in the jail who have ended the no-wash dirty protest.
In their statement, the CIRA spokesman said: “Now after 18 months of this second phase of protest, we believe that we have shown the prison regime our resolve and determination to oppose conditions not befitting Republican prisoners of war.
“We also believe we can afford them the opportunity at this juncture to implement the agreement.
“It is our hope that with this magnanimous gesture, the prison regime will now honour their word.
“As Republicans we will not shirk our responsibility and we believe that it is now necessary for us to take this lead in bringing the agreement to its conclusion.
“To all who have supported us up to this point, we ask for your continued support. We salute all people across the world who have worked on our behalf.
“We thank our families and our friends and Cahair (a prisoner support group) who have given us unswerving support and assistance.”
Tensions had been rising in the jail for months among inmates held in Roe House.
In a bid to boost their morale, a new dissident republican faction calling itself ‘The IRA’ shot dead prison officer David Black on November 1 as he drove to work on the M1 motorway outside Portadown.
He was the first prison officer to be murdered by paramilitary groups in almost 20 years.