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Republican prisoner at Maghaberry 'on hunger strike' - The Irish News
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Republican prisoner at Maghaberry 'on hunger strike'

Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim. Picture by Mal McCann
Connla Young

A RELATIVE of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has launched a prison hunger strike over conditions in Maghaberry, it has been claimed.

Supporters of Belfast man Liam Hannaway claimed he began refusing food at the high-security jail more than two weeks ago on August 31.

The 45-year-old is currently on remand at the Co Antrim prison while facing paramilitary charges after being arrested with several other men during an MI5 undercover surveillance operation in Newry last November.

The men are alleged to have been taking part in a meeting involving a breakaway faction of the Continuity IRA.

It is believed those arrested are currently being held with non-republican prisoners in Bann House but have demanded to be transferred to the jail’s 'separated' Rose House.

Mr Hannaway has previously served a 10-year sentence for possessing explosives and ammunition.

In 2010 he called off a 42-day hunger strike launched after prison authorities had refused to allow him to serve his sentence along with other republican inmates.

Since then it is claimed he has suffered from a range of medical problems including high blood pressure, sleep apnoea and post traumatic stress disorder.

Supporters last night claimed he has lost 21lb since starting his latest fast and has been vomiting as his body struggles without food.

They said they are worried that his previous hunger strike could leave him in a weakened state.

While the majority of the 10 republicans who died during the 1981 hunger strike passed away between 59 and 73 days without food, Martin Hurson from Co Tyrone died after just 46 days.

Supporters claim Mr Hannaway launched his fast after he was not allowed in Roe House, where most republican inmates are held.

He has also claimed he and other republican prisoners have been denied adequate medical treatment and access to doctors.

A spokesman for the Irish Republican Prisoners' Dependants Fund last night said: “His vomiting has stopped and he is very shaky but is in good spirits.

“The decision to go on hunger strike is not one that has been made lightly and he is determined to see it through to its awful conclusion if his demands are not met."

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: “The Northern Ireland Prison Service provides food for all prisoners. We do not comment on individual prisoners or operational matters.

“Any prisoner who has a complaint should raise it through the formal procedures. If not satisfied with NIPS response the matter may be investigated by the Prisoner Ombudsman.”

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