Northern Ireland news

Maghaberry dirty protest cost taxpayers almost £270,000

A republican 'dirty protest' which started in May 2011 and ended in November 2012 cost the taxpayer almost £270,000. Picture by Justin Kernoghan
Gareth McKeown

A 'DIRTY protest' in the republican wing of Maghaberry prison cost the taxpayer almost £270,000.

In May 2011 around 30 inmates in Roe House engaged in a no-wash protest, smearing excrement on walls, refusing to wash or shave and emptying urine into the prison landings.

The action started in opposition to strip searches and didn't end until November the following year.

The prisoners claimed that authorities reneged on an agreement brokered in August 2010 to end a policy of routine full body searches and replace them with electronic scans.

In response to an assembly question by DUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Maurice Morrow, the extent of damage caused by the Roe House protest was revealed by justice minister Claire Sugden

The total cost of repair work, carried out between January 2013 and January 2014, was £268,884.

"Floor, wall and ceiling finishes to cells and landings, cell doors and furniture were damaged/contaminated. Some in-cell sanitary ware was also damaged," the minister said.

"Repairs were carried out to all cells and landings, including redecoration of walls, windows and ceilings, replacement floor coverings, refitting sanitary ware and decontamination, refurbishment and redecoration of all cell doors and frames."

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