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Tyrone man launches prison 'dirty protest'

Connla Young

A Co Tyrone man has launched a ‘dirty protest' over claims that he has been refused a transfer to a republican landing in Maghaberry Prison.

It is understood Mark Loughrey, from Castlederg, is being held in the jail's punishment block after being moved there in recent weeks.

It is believed that Loughrey's protest includes smearing excrement on his cell wall.

Prisoners held in the punishment block – known as the Close Supervision Unit – are normally held in isolation and have limited exercise time.

In a letter to the Irish News Loughrey claims he is a member of Continuity Sinn Féin, a breakaway group from Republican Sinn Féin.

He is being held in remand in Maghaberry while facing a series of charges, including assault.

He claims he and other members of Continuity Sinn Féin have been told by prison officials they will not be transferred to Roe House, which houses republican inmates.

Loughrey said that decision should have been made by Northern Ireland Office officials and not prison staff.

"I feel there has been a premeditated decision made on me by the Prison Service," he said.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: "We do not comment on individual prisoners."

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