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28 August 2003 Edition

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TDs visit Castlerea and call for release of prisoners

A delegation made up of Sinn Féin's five TDs today visited Castlerea Prison on Wednesday morning to meet with the republican prisoners still being detained there by the State. The visit afforded the TDs the opportunity to update the prisoners on the current state of the peace process and to give them an insight into the work being carried out by the TDs in Leinster House.

Speaking after the two-hour meeting, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

"While a number of TDs have visited the prisoners over the past twelve months this has been the first opportunity for us all as an official delegation to come to Castlerea.

"While we found the prisoners to be in good spirits, there was also a deep sense of frustration, which I must say was shared by the TDs themselves, that the issue of prisoner releases had not yet been satisfactorily resolved. The Irish government has a duty and an obligation to fulfill its commitments under the Good Friday Agreement. It cannot cherry pick that Agreement. It must honour it in full. I would again, on behalf of the five TDs and indeed the prisoners, call on the Taoiseach to release these men immediately."

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