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26 July 2001 Edition

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Castlerea prisoners should be released

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly has called for the immediate release of all those prisoners who come under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Speaking after the High Court in Dublin's deferral of its decision in the sentence review case taken by the State against republican prisoners Kevin Walsh and Pearse McAuley, Kelly said:

``The decision by the State to appeal these sentences is completely at odds with the Good Friday Agreement. These men should already have been released. The terms of the Agreement are very explicit.

``The Good Friday Agreement covers all IRA prisoners imprisoned for incidents which occurred before 10 April 1998, regardless of the jurisdiction they were or are jailed in or what their conviction was for.

``There can be no two-tier system discriminating against certain prisoners of the conflict.

``Sinn Féin is conscious of the pain felt by the family of Garda Jerry McCabe when this issue is raised but many, many other families throughout this island have found the release of prisoners difficult yet have accepted its centrality to the peace process.

``These prisoners should have been released by now and Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for their immediate release.''
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