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Anger over £270k bill for 'dirty protest' by dissidents

By Cate McCurry

Published 10/11/2016

Taxpayers have forked out almost £270,000 to clean the cells of dissident republicans who were engaged in a dirty protest.
Taxpayers have forked out almost £270,000 to clean the cells of dissident republicans who were engaged in a dirty protest.

Taxpayers have forked out almost £270,000 to clean the cells of dissident republicans who were engaged in a dirty protest.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden said the total cost of the cleaning and repair work amounted to more than a quarter-of-a-million pounds over 12 months.

More than 30 dissidents were involved in the no wash dirty protest, smearing excrement over their cells at Maghaberry's Roe House.

Floors, walls and ceiling finishes to cells and landings, cell doors and furniture were damaged or contaminated during the protest.

Some in-cell toilet facilities were also vandalised.

The protest, which started in May 2012, was in opposition to strip searches.

Details of the cost of the clean-up was released following a question tabled by DUP MLA Lord Morrow.

He described the bill as "absolutely shameful".

He said: "I now want to know what measure is the Justice Minister bringing in to ensure this never happens again and how many people are going to be charged for this destruction to the tune of £270,000.

"If the prisoners don't behave like prisoners then it should impact on their remission.

"We are operating inside what was called the most dangerous prison in the UK. We can see why when this is allowed to happen. We have to be mindful of the safety of prison staff."

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