A new book telling the story of republican political prisoners will be launched in Derry early next month.
‘The Prison Story,’ which has been compiled by local tour guide and Sinn Féin councillor Mickey Cooper, with contributions from a number of republican ex-prisoners, is a history of republican prisoners in jails across Ireland and Britain.
It covers the history of republicans and nationalists being imprisoned for political activism and beliefs from the Easter Rising onwards but focuses mainly on the recent conflict.
The publication is a joint venture between the Gasyard Development Trust and Tar Abhaile with the collaboration of a number of ex-prisoners from Derry.
In the foreward to the book, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA and former prisoner, Raymond McCartney writes; “The Prison Story is an important account of the collective spirit, dedication and participation that underpinned our story of political imprisonment in recent times.”
Mickey Cooper, compiler of the book, said the book follows on from an exhibition on prisoners which was launched last year. “It is a chronological account of the story of the prison story in the North and beyond. It covers the history of Derry jail from the early days; Armagh and Crumlin Road back in the 19th Century, right through to the civil rights period. It also details internment, Long Kesh and Magilligan, right up to the present day in Maghaberry,” he said.
The author also said the book includes the personal stories of ex-prisoners from Derry. “The testimonies and personal accounts detail the prison experience from jails across the border and in England. The personal accounts are sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous but they all tell of the sacrifices and hardships that the prisoners and their families experienced,” he explained.
Meabh Mackel from Tar Abhaile said the book will be useful as an educational resource for young people. “We brought a group of young people from Creggan to the Gasyard to see the exhibition that led to this book and they did not really know much about that period so this will be and excellent resource and another facet for developing a greater understanding of our past,” she said.
Mr Cooper said the book will be launched in the Gasyard on December 1st and will be available at a special price of £3 or two for £5 at the launch. Normal retail price will be £5.
For more information contact Tar Abhaile at 1 Westend Park on 028 71266675.