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Rees laid the foundations of British policy to criminalise Republican Struggle

5 January, 2006


Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP today said that Merlyn Rees would be remembered as the man who removed Special Category Status from republican POWs and therefore laid the foundation stones of the British policy to try and break the republican struggle in the H-Blocks.

Mr Doherty said:

"Meryln Rees was the British Secretary of State who removed Special Category status and laid the foundation stones of the British policy of trying to break the republican struggle in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

"The strategy ultimately failed but not before years of prison resistance and protest culminating in the Hunger Strike of 1981 when ten republican prisoners died.

"Like so many other British Secretaries of State Reece had little understanding of the conflict or the negative effects resulting from continued British interference in Irish affairs." ENDS

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