20 March 1997 Edition

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McAliskey Labelled Guilty by Tory

By Eoin O'Broin

Tory MP and Home Office minister David Maclean last week referred to Roisín McAliskey as an `IRA prisoner'' and implied that she should be treated similarly to Myra Hindley, a child murderer who is serving natural life.

Later, John Major defended Maclean and accused the media of misrepresentation.

Maclean's remarks were made in a letter to a constituent who wrote to him urging him to show compassion in dealing with McAliskey's case The Tory MP wrote, ``you are worried that the IRA prisoner (sic) will be denied some fundamental human rights when giving birth. Where were the lobby groups and prison reformers worried about Stephen Restorick?''

Maclean went on to say, ``when the day comes that the evil scum of the IRA are no longer murdering the innocent, and our children are no longer tortured by the Hindleys of this world, then I am certain that when I no longer need all my compassion for the innocent I shall be able to spare some for the perpetrators''.

Bernadette McAliskey, Roisín's mother, called for Maclean's immediate resignation. She said, ``I think if the minister concerned is not fired from his post immediately then the entire Home Office should be cleared out, bearing in mind that this is the man who would have responsibility for the reopening of wrongful cases''.


Meanwhile McAliskey has won the right to keep her baby after its birth following a meeting last week between McAliskey, prison authorities, and social workers. She will be given limited access to Holloway Prison's mother and child unit.
Shortly after McAliskey received the news she was rushed to hospital to be treated for a thrombosis. While in transit she suffered an asthma-related panic attack and was severely shocked on arrival. Bernadette McAliskey hit out at the Home Office for using the hospital visit, which was for a routine check-up, to undermine Roisin's well-being and ``just so they could produce another statistic about hospital visits at the next bail hearing''.


Amnesty International has reissued its Urgent Action Appeal calling on its members to write to the British Home Secretary Micheal Howard and German Ambasador in London, John Olav Kerr to ensure that Roisin McAliskey will receive no more inhumane or degrading treatment while in custory. The appeal also calls for clarification as to the type and quality of services available to McAliskey after the birth of her child. Amnesty have committed themselves to monitor the situation closely.

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