Northern Ireland news

Author of academic book featuring views of hardline republicans surprised at prison 'ban'

Dr Marisa McGlinchey has said she is surprised that a book about republicanism she wrote earlier this year has been banned by authorities at Maghaberry Prison
Connla Young

THE author of an academic book featuring views of hardline republicans has questioned why it has been 'banned' from Maghaberry Prison.

Unfinished Business: The Politics of ‘Dissident' Irish Republicanism was published earlier this year.

It is understood four copies of the book which were to be delivered to republican prisoners at the high-security Co Antrim jail were turned away by prison staff last month.

Dr Marisa McGlinchey interviewed more than 90 republicans over a period of seven years as part of her research.

Those who contributed included veteran republican Billy McKee, a founding member of the Provisional IRA, and former Sinn Féin director of publicity Danny Morrison.

Dr McGlinchey is an assistant professor at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University in England.

She said she was “surprised” at the development.

“I was disappointed obviously and surprised they would be able to ban an academic book and we have no reason why it has been banned,” she said.

Dr McGlinchey's solicitor Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, said he has been instructed by a number of clients regarding concerns that the "NIPS (Northern Ireland Prison Service) now appear to be effectively screening as to the various reading materials to which they are provided”.

“It is a dangerous precedent for the NIPS to adopt a policy in which academic articles and publications, from a number of authors, are effectively being banned from the prison regime without any justifiable reasons.”

The Department of Justice said last night: "The Northern Ireland Prison Service has a duty to ensure that we provide a neutral environment for prisoners, visitors and staff.

"On occasion, this will mean some items may not be permitted into our prisons."

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