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Rossport 5 must not spend another day in prison - Bairbre de Brún

16 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún today expressed her concern that the men known as the 'Rossport 5' have now been imprisoned for 80 days, with no prospect of release. Ms de Brún made her comments after meeting with relatives of the men outside Clover Hill prison, and speaking briefly to one of the men, Brendan Philbin inside the jail.

Ms de Brún had travelled to Clover Hill prison as part of a fact finding delegation of Irish MEPs to ascertain the conditions in which third country nationals are held in Irish jails.

Speaking this afternoon Ms de Brún said:

"The Rossport 5 have been now been incarcerated for 80 days, with no apparent end in sight. I managed to speak briefly to one of the Rossport 5, Brendan Philbin on my visit to Clover Hill prison. I also spoke with the families of the Rossport 5 at Clover Hill prison today and pledged my support, and the continued support of Sinn Féin.

"The recent election results in Norway and the likely formation of a broad left coalition government could help end this stalemate. As many people will be aware, Statoil are a Norwegian Company currently embroiled in the Rossport saga, and the Norwegian Government is the major shareholder with Statoil. I also understand that a meeting will take place between a Rossport delegation and Mr Hallgeir Langeland MP, when they travel to Norway next week. Mr Langeland has already placed questions to the outgoing Conservative Government on the issue of Statoil's involvement in the Corrib project.

"I myself have raised the matter at the European Parliament and with the outgoing Norwegian government through their ambassador.

"I believe that if the political will exists then this issue can be resolved amicably. Meanwhile, the Rossport 5 must face their eightieth night in prison, in the knowledge that they have the Irish people on their side but not the Irish government. I want to express my solidarity with those who have been imprisoned and call for their immediate release. ENDS

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