FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Case of Marian Price

Derry

Parole Commissioners in Northern Ireland failed to reach a decision on Wednesday, January 18) on whether to order the release of Marian Price, 57, from Maghaberry prison in Co. Antrim, where she has been held since last May when the NI Secretary of State, British Tory Owen Patterson, signed an order revoking her licence.

The fact that her detention has caused scarcely a ripple of concern in Britain, Ireland or anywhere else can be put down to her affiliation with the 32 county sovereignty movement, widely regarded as the political voice of the Real IRA. The 32csm denies any connection.

Price’s lawyers argue that Patterson had no legal power to order her detention and that his intervention amounted to an egregious abuse reminiscent of internment.

Price was one of nine IRA volunteers sentenced to life for planting four bombs in London, including one at the Old Bailey, in March 1973. Around 180 people were injured, mainly by flying glass. One man died from a heart attack. The bombing party included Gerry Kelly, now a Sinn Fein minister in the devolved administration at Stormont, and Price’s older sister, Dolours.

Price was freed in 1980 suffering from tuberculosis and anorexia and weighing around five stone. Her lawyers insist that her release was based on a Royal pardon the terms of which supersede Patterson’s powers and not on a licence liable to be revoked. However, Patterson’s lawyers say that “extensive searches” have failed to locate the crucial document.

Price’s lawyers, Kevin Winters and Co., told the commissioners in their submission: “It is difficult to fathom how, even exercising a modicum of care, this document was destroyed without someone, before destruction, ensuring that the original (or at least another copy) was still in existence….There is certainly a foundation for suggesting that the document may (and we can put it no higher) have been deliberately ‘buried’ given the embarrassment it might cause.”

Price has been held as the only female in the high security prison – effectively in solitary confinement – since May 11 2011 when she was charged with encouraging support for an illegal organisation. The charge arose from a 32csm Easter Rising commemoration in Derry during which, on a blustery day, she reached up to hold the script from which a masked man read the Real IRA’s “Easter Message”.

In court in Derry two days later, despite strenuous prosecution objection, she was granted bail, then immediately rearrested on foot of the order signed the previous evening. The bail application had been made meaningless by Patterson’s advance arrangement to trump the court’s decision if it went against the state’s wishes.

Price was further charged in July last year with “providing property for the purposes of terrorism” – allegedly giving a mobile ‘phone to a man currently on trial for the killing of two soldiers outside Massereene barracks in Antrim in March 2009. At an appearance on this charge at Belfast Magistrates Court on January 16, a barrister for the Public Prosecution Service said that hearsay evidence will be used against her, based on statements she is said to have made to a journalist and on ‘phone records.

Price had been arrested and questioned for two days about the Massereene killings in November 2009 and released without charge. Her lawyers say that there has been no change in circumstances in the interim and no new evidence produced.

In July, again over the objections of Patterson’s barrister, she was given bail and, again, returned to prison. January 16, Price appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court on the same charge and was returned for trial. Again, despite bail having been given on the charge in July, she was immediately taken back to prison.

The timing of the court appearance, two days before the parole commissioners were to meet, is regarded by her supporters and many others as more than a coincidence.

The facts of Price’s detention, taken together, suggest she is being held indefinitely not because she has been found guilty of a serious crime, but because the Northern Ireland Office believes the state is better off with her out of the way. In everyday language, she is in internment. We thought we were done with that in Northern Ireland, but obviously not.

EAMONN McCANN can be reached at Eamonderry@aol.com

More articles by:

Eamonn McCann is an Irish journalist and political activist. He can be reached at Eamonderry@aol.com

July 14, 2020
Anthony DiMaggio
Canceling the Cancel Culture: Enriching Discourse or Dumbing it Down?
Patrick Cockburn
Boris Johnson Should not be Making New Global Enemies When His Country is in a Shambles
Frank Joyce
Lift From the Bottom? Yes.
Richard C. Gross
The Crackdown on Foreign Students
Steven Salaita
Should We Cancel “Cancel Culture”?
Paul Street
Sorry, the Chicago Blackhawks Need to Change Their Name and Logo
Jonathan Cook
‘Cancel Culture’ Letter is About Stifling Free Speech, Not Protecting It
John Feffer
The Global Rushmore of Autocrats
C. Douglas Lummis
Pillar of Sand in Okinawa
B. Nimri Aziz
Soft Power: Americans in Its Grip at Home Must Face the Mischief It Wields by BNimri Aziz July 11/2020
Cesar Chelala
What was lost when Ringling Bros. Left the Circus
Dan Bacher
California Regulators Approve 12 New Permits for Chevron to Frack in Kern County
George Wuerthner
Shrinking Wilderness in the Gallatin Range
Lawrence Davidson
Woodrow Wilson’s Racism: the Basis For His Support of Zionism
Binoy Kampmark
Mosques, Museums and Politics: the Fate of Hagia Sophia
Dean Baker
Propaganda on Government Action and Inequality from David Leonhardt
July 13, 2020
Gerald Sussman
The Russiagate Spectacle: Season 2?
Ishmael Reed
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Perry Mason Moment
Jack Rasmus
Why the 3rd Quarter US Economic ‘Rebound’ Will Falter
W. T. Whitney
Oil Comes First in Peru, Not Coronavirus Danger, Not Indigenous Rights
Ralph Nader
The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation
Raghav Kaushik – Arun Gupta
On Coronavirus and the Anti-Police-Brutality Uprising
Deborah James
Digital Trade Rules: a Disastrous New Constitution for the Global Economy Written by and for Big Tech
Howard Lisnoff
Remembering the Nuclear Freeze Movement and Its Futility
Sam Pizzigati
Will the Biden-Sanders Economic Task Force Rattle the Rich?
Allen Baker
Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper
Binoy Kampmark
The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Power, Knowledge and Virtue
Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail