Brendan Lillis: campaigners go on hunger strike

‘Release Brendan Lillis’ campaigners go on hunger strike

By Connla Young
Friday, 22 July 2011

Campaigners calling for the release from jail of a seriously ill Belfast man convicted of possessing explosives over three decades ago have begun a hunger strike.

West Belfast man Brendan Lillis is currently being treated in the hospital wing of Maghaberry prison for Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of arthritis that mainly affects the spine.

Last night his partner Roisin Lynch said the former IRA man is confined to bed and has just days to live.

The 59-year-old was sentenced to life in 1977 on explosives charges and served almost 16 years of that sentence before being released on licence in 1992.

After his recent arrest he was told he will have to serve the rest of his original life sentence.

All charges against Mr Lillis, who weighs just five stone, were shelved last year because he was deemed too unwell to stand trial.

Yesterday Mr Lillis’s partner of 12 years was joined by supporters at the site of the former Andersonstown RUC base where they began a hunger strike.

Roisin Lynch has shown her support for Mr Lillis.

She said: “I intend to stay on this protest until the end. I have tried everything over the past two years. I have contacted politicians and human rights groups but got nowhere. I have tried to meet with the minister for Justice David Ford but he won’t meet me and won’t speak to me.

“Brendan’s life is in his hands. If he dies it will be David Ford’s responsibility.”

Former IRA hunger striker Gerard Hodgkins served time in jail with Mr Lillis and is taking part in a token three-day fast in support of his friend.

He said: “Brendan has no political affiliations at all, he is on his own and has no-one to campaign for him. If this man is going to die he should be allowed to do so with his family and a bit of dignity.”

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: “The case is currently being considered by the Parole Commissioners, who, as an independent body, will consider all the evidence presented to them. This process is ongoing.

“Given the current circumstances applying to this case, there are not sufficient and exceptional grounds which would justify the release of Mr Lillis on compassionate grounds.”


Brendan Lillis was arrested for his part in an attempted Tiger kidnapping in October 2009. A former prisoner his early release licence was revoked by then Secretary of State Shaun Woodward. Mr Lillis’s partner his called for his release from jail saying he only has days to live.


11 thoughts on “Brendan Lillis: campaigners go on hunger strike

  1. kruitvat Post author

    Friends of Brendan Lillis – Doc

    Republican Socialist News –

    Belfast Telegraph –​-go-on-hunger-strike-16026395.html

    Eirigi Statement –

    Prisoners Action Group –​cess.html

    From Corsica –​n-prison/2011/

    WorkersSolidarityMovement –

    IrishFreedomCommittee –

    HumanRightsGroup –​on/

    UTV 21st July – New York –​his-sentence–VIDEO-125943423.html

    Prisoners Action Group –​is.html –

    The Pensive Quill 20th July – –

    U.105 News –

    Derry Journal 19th July –

    The Irish Observer –

    Workers Solidarity Movement –

    Hub Pages iskra1916 –

    Human Rights Movement Belgium –​strike-thursday-21st-july-2.html

    Derry 32 csm –


    Human Rights Group –​on/

    Derry Sinn Fein –

    SDLP –​rendan_lillis/

    The Pensive Quill aka Anthony McIntyre –

    WordPress –​ford/

    Troops Out Movement –

    Organised Rage Blog –

    UTV –

    Audio from Pilots Row meeting –

  2. kruitvat Post author


    After the death sentence imposed by the injustice minister David Ford, we would appeal to everyone to commit themselves again to the next 48 hrs of our vigil/fast in support of Brendan and Roisin at Free Derry corner.

    Copy, paste, share and send this on.

    In a statement published via Ulster television the Northern Ireland prison service have stated in relation to plight faced by Brendan Lillis a prisoner in Maghaberry jail that ‘Given the current circumstances, there are not sufficient and exceptional grounds to justify his release on compassionate grounds.”

    Under freedom of information legislation I would like to ask for all documents that give explicit detail of what would be required for Brendan Lillis to be released on compassionate grounds.

    I am also requesting under the Freedom of information legislation specific detail of how Brendan Lillis has failed to meet the criteria for compassionate release.

    Finally under freedom of Information legislation I would like full details of the qualifications and if any medical experience of those who made the decision not to release Brendan Lillis on compassionate grounds.

    (Insert name)

  3. kruitvat Post author

    The authorities:

    ‎”The healthcare team is made up of qualified nurses, healthcare officers and healthcare assistants who all partake in continous professional development. “The Inpatient Unit within the Healthcare Centre at H.M. Prison Maghaberry will shortly undergo a period of major refurbishment and modernisation.”

    ‎”Healthcare of Prisoners at H.M. Maghaberry is provided by an experienced team of dedicated staff who provide a healthcare service for prisoners 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “The healthcare teamis committed to the task of bringing the values and methods of community based healthcare to the secure setting with a professionalism and committment that lays the foundations of improved services and care”.

    This is word from word from the HMP Maghaberry Prison Regime Info. “Because of recent problems at maghaberry there is to be a complete review of the regime. it is due to report in the Autumn (2010) and it is to be led by Anne Owers, the retired Chief Inspector of Prisons”. This is what HMP Maghaberry Prison Regime Info says about the Prisons Health care. “HM Prison Maghaberry are committed to providing the highest standards of healthcare to prisoners in their care in partnership with the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust”.

    The Department of Justice have said they have not released any statement, the Minister has said nothing on the subject. That has come directly from the Department just now on the phone. There was definitely no official statement from the Minister or the Department.

    Roisin, partner of Brendan Lillis, does have a letter from Ford, which states Brendan Lillis will not be released because he is a ‘risk to the public’. This, of course, would not be a reasonable statement. A man on his death bed, who is down to skin and bones and cannot eat or withstand an IV, and actually cannot even move about in bed is certainly no danger in any reasonable person’s mind.

    The article in the UTV news stated that the Health Trust said Brendan Lillis was in ‘good medical condition’…

  4. Boeykens

    Latest News:

    Roisin, partner of Brendan Lillis, was on the UTV News this evening. She said on the news, that a decision had not been reached regarding the release of Brendan Lillis.

  5. Boeykens


    Families support Lillis campaign

    Published on Friday 22 July 2011

    The families of two Derry republicans who died as a result of medical conditions while in prison have called for Brendan Lillis to be released from Maghaberry.

    Mr Lillis was released on licence in 1992 but was returned to prison in 2009 after his licence was revoked by the Secretary of State. His family have said that he now weighs less than six stones and that he is near death.

    The families of Derry IRA men Pól Kinsella and James Moyne have added their voices to the campaign for the release of Mr Lillis.

    Mr Kinsella died from leukaemia in Long Kesh in 1994 and Mr Moyne died in the same prison in January 1974 while waiting for medical treatment.

    Speaking to the ‘Journal,’ the family of the late Pól Kinsella said: “Our family know at first hand the heartache of losing a loved one whilst being imprisoned.

    “It was whilst imprisoned in 1994 that Pól was to find out that he had leukaemia. The British establishment at that time refused to release him despite it being clear he was very seriously ill or the fact that the IRA had already declared a military cessation. Pól died at the young age of 31 on the 13th December of that year.

    “We felt it was important to echo calls made this week for the immediate release of Brendan Lillis on humanitarian grounds and to ensure that prisoners’ rights are protected.”

    The brothers and sister of the late James Moyne also called for the release of the critically ill prisoner.

    “We the family of Vol. James Moyne call for the immediate release of Brendan Lillis from Maghaberry Gaol.

    “We believe that it is only right that Brendan Lillis, a seriously ill prisoner, be given the chance to receive the medical treatment he so badly needs and to spend his remaining days with his family. It has been 36 years since the death of our brother Jim, a victim of this same form of state violence.

    “It saddens and disturbs us greatly that conditions continue to exist whereby Irish people can be subject to arbitrary detention and suffer medical neglect while in gaol,” he said.

    Local MLAs have also called for the release of the ill prisoner.

  6. Boeykens

    Protest on London: The Northern Ireland Office

    ‎’The Northern Ireland Office is responsible for overseeing the Northern Ireland devolution settlement and representing Northern Ireland interests at UK Government level and UK Government interests in Northern Ireland’.

    What’s the role of London in Northern Irelands’ politics ?

    MONDAY 18 JULY 2011
    Secretary of State Owen Paterson MP today announced the appointment of Michael O’Flaherty as the new Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Grainia Long, Christine Collins, John Corey, Milton Kerr, Alan McBride, Marion Reynolds and Paul Yam as new Commissioners.

    The appointment of a new Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, to cover up the case of Brendan, the violation of human rights and the deaths in Maghaberry prison ?

  7. Boeykens

    London: The Northern Ireland Office

    Paterson Announces Appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

    MONDAY 18 JULY 2011
    Paterson Announces Appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

    Secretary of State Owen Paterson MP today announced the appointment of Michael O’Flaherty as the new Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Grainia Long, Christine Collins, John Corey, Milton Kerr, Alan McBride, Marion Reynolds and Paul Yam as new Commissioners.

    Owen Paterson said: “The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission plays an important role in protecting and promoting human rights in Northern Ireland .

    “The new Chief Commissioner and seven new Commissioners bring with them skills, understanding and knowledge that will contribute greatly to the Commission’s work.

    “Twelve years after its establishment, the Commission continues to face a range of challenges that are changing as Northern Ireland society changes. I am confident that the new Chief Commissioner and Commissioners will help meet these challenges in a way that commands support across the community.”

    The Secretary of State also thanked the five outgoing Commissioners, Colin Harvey, Geraldine Rice, Anne Hope, Thomas Duncan and Alan Henry and paid a special thanks to the outgoing Chief Commissioner, Monica McWilliams, for the work that has been completed under her leadership.

    He said: “The outgoing Chief Commissioner and Commissioners have made a valuable contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights in Northern Ireland .

    “I am extremely grateful to them for their commitment over the last six years.”


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