''A feeble excuse.'' That's how SDLP MLA John Dallat described Justice Minister David Fords answer to a question in relation to a report into alternatives to strip searching in Maghaberry gaol.
[Quote David Ford]...He said the report contained sensitive security and commercial information.[unquote]
A dirty protest has been ongoing for several months now at Maghaberry were Republicans in Roe House refusing to wash or shave and emptying urine etc under cell doors. This action is in response to what they claim as a reneg on a deal struck between prison officials and prisoners in August 2010
Known as the ''August Agreement'' it involved input and discussion, not only from the Republican prisoners themselves but Sinn Fein officials and trade union reps.
When it gets to the stage were ordinary backbenchers like John Dallat can't even get a straight answer and the Justice Minister refuses to release the report i think it's telling of a ''sit on the fence and hope it does'nt spill over'' attitude by Ford.
Shrouding an official report in secrecy does'nt help the matter and can only lead to an escalation of protest action with the potential for hunger strike and the knock on affect of that is violence on the streets.
At what point i ask will the Justice Minister deliver straight answers to questions....before or after someone dies as a result?
Read more here...http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17108379