McAteer welcomes Motion in support of Gavin Coyle

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Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
Independent Newry City Councillor Kevin McAteer has welcomed the passing of a motion in support of Gavin Coyle and condemned his solitary confinement.
Councillor Kevin McAteer

Councillor Kevin McAteer

The statement comes as a motion condemning the treatment of Gavin Coyle passed at a recent council meeting, however McAteer expressed his disappointment at those who voted and abstained against it. Speaking to Newry Times, the Independent Councillor stated, “We need to condemn and highlight this basic human rights issue. Gavin Coyle has been in isolation for four years and we must highlight the inhuman and degrading treatment and psychological torture associated with prolonged solitary confinement. “I am very disappointed that parties such as the SDLP who have historically championed civil rights could abstain so easily on an issue such as this. Furthermore I cannot understand how the SDLP group in Derry and Strabane Council voted in favour of the motion and then once the exact same motion is brought before Newry, Mourne and Down Council they abstain.” The motion in question read: ‘This Council calls on the Northern Ireland Prison Service to take action and ensure that republican prisoner Gavin Coyle who has been held in isolation for the last 4 years in Maghaberry Prison is immediately transferred to the separation area in Roe House.’ McAteer added, “We also need to highlight the mental health aspects associated with prolong solitary confinement. Solitary confinement has increased levels of suicide and self harm as well as physical health these conditions are as bad as Guantanamo Bay and we need to raise awareness on this now. This motion passing at council level will most certainly help that support.”
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