‘My husband will die in there’

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The concerned wife of a Derry republican prisoner has appealed to the city’s political leaders to help improve conditions in Maghaberry Prison before someone dies.

Loraine Taylor, whose husband Tony Taylor is currently one of 35 republican prisoners currently protesting for better conditions, spoke of her worry and heartbreak over the health and wellbeing of her husband.

Mrs Taylor, from the Foyle Springs area of the city, told the ‘Derry Journal’, “Tony is on remand in Maghaberry Prison from August 3, 2011 and is currently on a dirty protest. He is in ill-health since being blown up in a bomb 18 years ago and has no spleen, no kidney and shrapnel in his body. Now they think he has septic arthritis, which could be poisoning his blood.”

Mrs Taylor, who is caring for three children, one of whom is special needs, has been worried sick about her husband since he was incarcerated. She is furious at the lack of communication from prison authorities.

“Tony has been taken to hospital by prison staff and on no occasion did anyone let me know. They have a duty to let me know, yet I hear nothing. They wouldn’t even tell me which hospital he is in.”

“Tony never complains. I notice through the visits how weak he is becoming, the weight is falling off him and he can’t even nurse my youngest child on his knee during visits anymore. He always rings me around 4.30pm every day and when he doesn’t phone I know there is something up. It was another prisoner’s wife who told me that Tony had been taken into hospital.”

He always puts on a brave face for us, for the children, but it’s heartbreaking when I look at him because I’m thinking to myself “he’s going to die in there.” This has been the hardest six months ever, I cry all the time.”

Earlier this week, Mrs Taylor inquired about her husband’s condition. “I had rang the hospital to see how he was, and they told me he had a bad night and was in pain all night. Then I spoke to the Governor, who told me that Tony had a comfortable night - so who’s telling lies here? What if he was dying, are they going to tell me he’s doing great? It’s a disgrace. It’s their duty of care to keep the family informed of what’s happening.”

“All I want is for them to be treated normally. I want all the MPs and political leaders to help stop the dirty protests and improve conditions in there, so Martin McGuinness and Mark Durkan must get involved and put pressure on Justice Minister David Ford.

A tearful Mrs Taylor added: “I want my husband to be treated like a human being, or he will die.”