31 July 1997 Edition

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Sinn Féin leaders visit POWs

Sinn Féin leaders have begun a series of visits to republican political prisoners and have called for their release.

Last week Sinn Féin Vice-President Pat Doherty and Martin McGuinness visited the H-Blocks. On Tuesday 29 July Doherty visited the women political prisoners in Maghaberry. The visits are to update prisoners on the current political situation and hear their views on the peace process. ``Upbeat and very positive'' was how Doherty described the meetings.

On Friday 2 August Pat Doherty, Kerry Sinn Féin candidate and former Portlaoise POW Martin Ferris, and Ann O'Sullivan of the POW Department, will be visting Portlaoise Prison.

Next week Sinn Féin leaders are to to visit all republican prisoners in Britain. The delegates will be drawn from a group including Martin McGuinness MP, Caoimhghín O Caoláin TD, Councillor Francie Molloy, Pat Doherty and Gerry Kelly. The delegation will visit POWs in Whitemoor, Frankland, Full Sutton and Belmarsh.

Speaking after the Maghaberry visit Pat Doherty urged both governments to ``address matters relating to the release of prisoners as a matter of urgency''.

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