Saturday, 21 April 2018

MAGHABERRY PRISON - ECCLESIASTICAL VISITS

Mr. Nicholar Perry - Dept of Justice N.I.

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18th April 2018

Mr. Nicholas Perry CB
Permanent Secretary.
Department of Justice.
Northern Ireland.

Dear Mr Perry,

Ecclesiastical visits Maghaberry Prison

You may or may not be aware that I was recently refused an ecclesiastical visit to a long-standing parishioner of mine who is a prisoner in HMP Maghaberry? I have looked after him as a clergyman for well over 20 years now. He is Xxxxxx Xxxxxx Xxxxx and his prison number is XXXXX. He also has mental health issues and I know that he has presented the prison staff with very difficult challenges since he went there on remand some weeks ago.

He had made a formal request to the prison authorities for an ecclesiastical visit.

That visit was refused by Resident Governor David Savage.

My local MP, Mr. Sammy Wilson, called Governor Savage and was quite shocked when Mr. Savage told him that he had refused the request for an ecclesiastical visit having been asked to do so by the Roman Catholic chaplains at Maghaberry!

Mr. Wilson has since appealed the refusal to the Prison Governor Mr. David Kennedy and to date we have had no reply.

A PRECEDENT:

I am no longer formally a member or a cleric of the Roman Catholic Church and I have no expectation that the Roman Catholic chaplains would facilitate ecclesiastical visits from me.

I am however a clergyman of 42 years standing – 40 in Northern Ireland and during that time I have regularly visited all the prisons.

Upon my rupture with the Roman Catholic Church in 1985, the then Roman Catholic chaplains immediately refused to facilitate ecclesiastical visits for me.

At the time I contacted the late Dr. Ian Paisley and he spoke to the N. I. Prison minister at the time – Mr. Nicholas Scott – and an arrangement was set up whereby I was able to have my ecclesiastical visits.

So, there is a political and religious precedent to me visiting N. Ireland prisons as Bishop Pat Buckley of The Oratory Society.

A RELIGIOUS BODY:

The Oratory Society was established in Larne in the mid-1980’s as a “religious body”.

Other government departments regard The Oratory Society as a “religious body” – for example, The Oratory Society is regarded as a “religious body” by the Registrar General of Marriages for Northern Ireland.

It would be most strange for one branch of government to recognize The Oratory Society as a religious body – and another branch of the same government to refuse to recognize it.

RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION:

For the N. I Prison Service to refuse to allow me ecclesiastical visits to my parishioners is an act of religious discrimination that contravenes not the Human Rights legislation but the Code of Good Practice of the N. I. Prison Service.

Article 9 says:

Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion

1.    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

2.    Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The Code of Good Practice of the N. Ireland Prison Service says:

Examples of good practice


The prison service has a duty to provide for the pastoral needs of prisoners of other faiths and a register of pastors and ministers of minority faiths, willing to provide pastoral care for prisoners, is maintained.

When the need arises, prisoners registered as other faiths for which no chaplains are appointed, may on request receive a visit from a Pastor or Minister of their own religion.


In the context of Article 9 and the prison Code of Practice Governor Savage was clearly in contravention of both the spirit and the law. I am at a loss to understand how he did not realise this.

I respect the N. I Prison Service and the important work they do. In my 40 years of prison visiting, I have never once made any problem for the service.

It would be a great pity if circumstances forced me to take a judicial review or a European court case in order to solve this very simple matter. I have no wish to do this and would want to sort it out amicably and at the earliest stage.

In fact, I believe my ecclesiastical visit to Mr. Xxxxx would enable me to persuade him to fully co-operate with the prison staff and authorities in such a way as they could then help him. And that is my firm intention.

Can I reiterate I have no desire to irritate anyone in Maghaberry Prison, including the chaplaincy team? I simply want to have an ecclesiastical visit as the senior pastor of The Oratory Society to one of my long-term parishioners.

To achieve this, I am prepared to contact anyone I am directed to contact to arrange such visits and to behave impeccably, as I always have, during prison visits.

I would be most grateful if you could look at this matter for me urgently and help me to resolve it.

I hope to hear from you very soon on the matter.

Sincerely yours,


(Bishop) Pat Buckley
Presiding Bishop. 
The Oratory Society.


Copy:
Mr. Sammy Wilson MP



FOLLOW UP EMAIL TO MR. PERRY - APRIL 19TH

AFTER PRISON MONITORING BOARD DREW MY ATTENTION TO THE PRISON RULE BOOK





MR NICHOLAS PERRY CB

Dear Mr. Perry,

I wanted to draw your attention to the following rule from Prison Rules Northern Ireland 2010- Rule 62:

Visits by other ministers:

62. –(1) Where a prisoner belongs to a denomination for which no chaplain has been appointed the governor shall do what he reasonably can, if so requested by the prisoner, to arrange for him to be visited regularly by a minister of that denomination.


This rule was brought to the attention of the Maghaberry Governor yesterday by a member of the Independent Monitoring Board.

Warm wishes,

+Pat Buckley

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As promised I am keeping my Blog readers up to date on this Human Rights / Religious Discrimination story and will continue to do so.




80 comments:

  1. Perhaps the prisoner does not wish to have a visit at this time, if he is as difficult and disturbed as you said.

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    Replies
    1. He does wish it.

      He telephones me a couple of times a week.

      Delete
  2. I was very pleased to read your well thought out and well mannered letter to the government representatives at HMP Service NI. I shall keep you in my prayers, that this will be resolved, so that the welfare of your parishioner can be supported.

    It is important to note what calm can be reached for the prisoner and those guarding him can be achieved by a visit from his faith minister.

    Support going your way Pat from a supportive RC priest.

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  3. I hope you sent it recorded delivery, +Pat.

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    Replies
    1. Of course I did.

      Mr. Perry's secretary told me the letter arrived.

      Delete
  4. If not the chaplains, who else could it be? I wonder.

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    Replies
    1. "If not the chaplains, who else could it be?.." asks poster @ 6.31
      The answer to that is that it could be the prisoner himself.
      If so, he needs to be honest with Pat. But the prisoner is not disposed to behaving consistently and rationally while he has mental health issues.

      Delete
  5. Sounds good Pat. Let's see what happens. Paid work demanding for me at the moment. Prayers appreciated especially next month or so. Then things should settle.

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    Replies
    1. Will do at Mass at 12 today.

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    2. Thank You Much appreciated. Currently doing 24 hour shifts with sleep. Lad been up most nights banging on door. Going through a hard time End of June I hope to be working 9-5 with housing association Prayer has been answered

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    3. That is now part of your ministry.

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    4. Sean 9.38: What are you on about? Your comment is so poorly written....Who wants to know your daily timetable? No one, so, get and do something more exciting in your Anglican life....

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    5. I for one am very interested in Sean's life and ministry.

      He is a friend.

      And he is also to be greatly admired for his alcohol recovery.

      Don't underestimate his journey.

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    6. At 16.25
      Your manners are appalling and your post is ignorant.
      Sean, best of luck with the new ventures. Keep up the good work.
      CR.

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    7. 16.25 The comment portrays everything a Christian should NOT be. No wonder the church may struggle with such attitudes. Hopefully the prison service has got checks and balances. What do you or the church have

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  6. There must be s reason, as yet unknown, for the refusal of a visit by Pat. In the meantime, until the truth is established, speculations, innuendo and hearsay should not go into overdrive. I hope the issue is resolved for all concerned so that no one is maligned unfairly. Pat's letter should bring an immediate response and, while I disagree mostly with his views, I believe he deserves better treatment than this. Then perhaps we might comment on other relevant matters renewing of faith communities, Church reforms, spirituality and justice.

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  7. MMM referenced Canon Matt Hep yesterday and somehow raised him up on some pedestal. The truth is that his writings are heretical, if not hysterical at times. Another said it was quotable but with no substance. Well let me tell you that's exactly what he aims to do. Personally, I read him stuff in Maynooth years ago and its imprinted on my mind the many dichotomy's that he presented in his work. Still it is nice to reflect on things, still the passing of time has no changed my views.

    Sr MARY TR0

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    Replies
    1. Who was Canon Hep?

      I can find no mention of him on the www.

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    2. I think his writings are only on JSTOR now or one of those things that you have to pay for access. isn't he long dead by now. were talking 1940's material. I'm not sure he had any books as he only appears in journal articles.

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    3. Mary, being a wild heretic yourself I'd have thought Canon Hep would be your role model

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    4. in the halls of Maynooth, I can assure you canon matt hep is by no means hallowed. his writing is very clear tho and not chaotic for a man of his time.

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    5. what was the name of the guy who used to produce the blue mass books circa 1950's, it had pope Pius on the front. every seminary year used to have them. was that matt hep. it was certainly a canon and im certain the surname was H. I can picture it now. very thin book

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    6. "in the halls of Maynooth, I can assure you canon matt hep is by no means hallowed"

      Was he not a product of Carlow?

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    7. Mary give it a rest!

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    8. Yes Canon Matt Hep was a student in Carlow but he was exiled in later life. His writings are considered blasphemy. We didn't dare mention his name bar in private conversations.

      T.

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    9. I assume the little thinker was of English extraction with a name like that

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    10. I hear he liked his shopping dropped off round the back

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    11. Pat, I’m surprised you don’t know Canon Hep. You went to Carlow right? You’re a liberal man with conflicting views. Why do you fail to know this man. Is your head buried

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  8. Fr Ray Kelly was on Britain's Got Talent

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    Replies
    1. can't live on a priests salary these days. You gotta seek fame and fortune.

      Delete
  9. For pity's sake, hasn't Ireland got enough singing priests already, with those fey, not sufficiently manly and robust singing trio of priests, The Priests ? And then Ireland has Daniel O'Donnell as well ! What a drip ! I despair ! We will be sung to death in Ireland if we get any more.

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    Replies

    1. You've also got Dana to put up with over there.

      Thankfully, we didn't have to suffer Cliff at last night's 92nd Birthday Party show at the Albert Hall for the queen.

      Delete
    2. Ireland could do with a couple more celebrities, priests or otherwise. With the recent departures of Terry Wogan and Big Tom there are a couple of vacancies on Brian D’Arcy’s book for him to befriend and minister to.

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    3. He still has Cliff Richard, Daniel and Nathan Carter

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    4. I wouldn't mind a sing-a-long with Nathan Carter. He's hot.

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  10. The matter is quite simple about the prison. That Dallat fellow is giving out some pay back to + Pat. Simple. The prison service should not allow him to use his position there to wage war against + Pat. And, to be honest, Dallat should not be working there. He's shown himself to be unreliable, manipulative, and to have crossed professional boundaries with his behaviour in the past. In any other profession, outside the endangered protected species of the priesthood, he would be out on his ear. And, I guarantee, he will not have changed his spots and will be shagging around, just being bit more careful this time - like wearing a condom ! He should be moved out and away, pensioned off, and stopped from ministering in any capacity. His bishop should take the necessary action.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In fairness - Dallat has not been mentioned by the governor.

      Instead Resident Governor David Savage told Sammy Wilson MP that the "chaplaincy team" objected to my presence.

      So I do not really KNOW that he has played any role.

      I do agree with you that Ciaran is unfit for ministry and that Noel Treanor, for some reason, thought differently.

      Of course we do not know if he has "changed his spots".

      As my Dad used to say: "When you are used to wearing shoes, its hard to go in bare feet".

      But maybe Ciaran is truly repentant and is now a committed celibate and chastitute?

      Delete
    2. “... the "chaplaincy team" objected to my presence.”

      On what justification? Mind you, they’re probably friends with many of the priests and trainees who have scandalised readers, or, in some cases, been reported missing.

      (I also doubt the prison governor will be up to speed with this blog.)

      Delete
    3. How can the chaplaincy team object to Pat's visit. It is discrimination and Pat has the right to the actual objection. Is the Governor afraid of offending the God squad

      Delete
    4. The resident governor's actions in this matter are baffling and inexcusable. He should be disciplined for misconduct.

      Delete
  11. BRIAN DARCY:

    My understanding is that Brian Darcy does not get a salary from The Sunday World - but they buy and maintain his car?

    I imagine that he does get a salary from the BBC.

    But as a religious with a vow of poverty he would be expected to hand that over to the Passionist Order.

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  12. You were denied access to your friend. Then you went to sammy wilson, for what? You ended up writing to a higher authority in the end anyways. why didnt you exhaust all avanues and then seek political support. It's not like you are the silent type. you love a fuss. So essentially you wanted a little drama and got wilson involved.

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    Replies
    1. Sammy is dealing with the governor on my behalf.

      I am dealing with the Dept of Justice.

      Nothing wrong with combined actions.

      Of course when you have a problem with public authorities you go to your elected representatives.

      Delete
  13. Why is Darcy being mentioned?

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    Replies
    1. Because people here have been commenting about his recent appearance on the Late Late and at Big Tom's funeral.

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    2. oh, your going out the same way you came in....

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    3. Darcy is a first class idiot, that's why he's being mentioned.

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    4. Honestly!

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    5. @ 11.32

      "...you're going out the way..."

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    6. Darcy has had a very, very agreeable life via the very church that he misses no opportunity to criticise. Imagine a lay person employed by, say, Amazon, who publicly criticised his or her employer time after time. How long would he or she last?

      Same with Flannery. He's never done a day's work in his life.

      Delete
    7. 14:23, why shouldn't Fr D'Darcy criticise the institutional Church? It is not beyond criticism.

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    8. Thank you +Pat for the explanation. Has anyone explained why Darcy made such a fool of himself in the graveyard? Is singing in the cemetery the new keening?

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    9. Magna, no secular employer would accommodate the likes of Darcy and Flannery who have for decades bit the hand that fed them.

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    10. 21:39, bit the hand that fed them? What? The institutional Roman Catholic Church? That institution fed no-one, since its constituents are work shy and don't earn. It is the stupid sheep, the laity, that has fed D'Arcy and others.

      Delete
  14. Yes by all means, but you didn't exhaust the appeals process and a higher authority. It must have been to your hearts delight that you had to run to Sammy 'The gays are perverts' Wilson.

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    Replies
    1. Sammy's office is near my home and he parks outside my house.

      I do not need to run to him. I see him regularly.

      Delete
    2. @11:29

      I think it is a prisoner that has to make a complaint initially and subsequently lodge an appeal if all other avenues fail.

      Delete
    3. Prisoners are in weak positions in prisons.

      They need a lot of outside help and support.

      Delete
    4. Pat you're very gullible

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    5. It must be serious if he's on remand awaiting trial.

      Delete
  15. parks outside your house you say. see him regularly you say. I see ;).

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  16. Today is Good Sheppard Sunday. The second collection is to support the training of priests. The dublin diocese has five candidates. Let’s pray for our priests.

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    Replies
    1. I think you’ll find it is Shepherd.

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    2. some dioceses have no seminarians and none for quite some years, so what happens to that money?

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    3. 14:45 I think, but I may be wrong, I am sure it is only the Dublin Diocese who have two collections on Sunday. If the other dioceses have no students then maybe they’re not spending what they didn’t collect for ? Maybe other dioceses use the common parish / Diocese funds for this and don’t make separate collections?

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    4. I think most Dioceses call the collection 'Education of Priests' and therefore the money is used for both seminarians and for the education of current clergy.

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    5. ... as well as counselling and psychotherapy fees and they don't come cheap.

      Delete
    6. I remember as a seminarian for a northern diocese helping count the Good Shepherd collection, none of which came to me.

      Delete
  17. I think Fr Ray Kelly was great to be on BGT.
    Pat is just jealous that some other priest is getting the lime light.

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    Replies
    1. I think it's great for him too.

      He has a lovely voice.

      I wrote and told him so.

      Why would I be jealous of his God given talent?

      Delete
    2. I'm shocked Pat.
      it is so rare that you have anything good to say about a Catholic priest.

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    3. He must have been drunk at the time.

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    4. You'd need to be drunk to watch BGT.

      Delete
  18. Just to go off subject slightly. I have just watched the horrific attack of a young in Northern Ireland. The Facebook clip shows her being savagely assaulted by a group of girls and boys. It is sickening in the extreme. If this is the sort of scum being spawned in Nth Ireland then I wish you all good luck for the future.

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  19. Say's who 11:29? Every citizen has the right to approach his or her elected representative. That's usually the only way to make progress.

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    Replies
    1. Sammy Wilson... progressive!?!?

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  20. Pat you are in luck with Nick Perry. He was head of justice policy in the old NIO and is reincarnated in the NI Department of Justice (also known as the NIO in drag). Nick is the last of the English overlords parachuted into Belfast and he'll have no dog in the fight and no time for squabbles stirred up by the RC chaplaincy team in Maghaberry.

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  21. I somehow doubt D'Arcy does hand over any access/undeclared QT monies or such likes to his order.

    One Priest in the know recently told me that he reckoned D'Arcy was a pretty wealthy man via 'Undeclared Donations'

    However there's no barbed wire holding him into the Priesthood and thus he is readily available to the media and press for comments usually on scandalous stories.

    I guess if he left the Priesthood and his collar that he never wears anyway removed from his belonging - his opinions wouldn't be recognised or hold clout with media outlets and broadvasters as he would just be a 'Joe Public' and a man with Brian's egotistical mannerisms just couldn't allow that to happen.

    His books that are continuously published with his smiling face on the front covers and inside you discover it's all about me, me and me.

    It's a pity he wouldn't do what he's supposed to be doing in his daily ministry rather than star gazing and celebrity mingling at every turn.

    I've met the man and it's odd because we were just chatting about him in the office today and I made the comment that once meeting him was quite enough and my stance hasn't changed at all.

    Sad to say that about the man but he's not genuine, he's a convincing bluffer that for some reason numbers of people think he's the second coming of the Messiah.

    I think the move to Crossgar was one that hurt him more than he expressed but I think it was more a move to watch him by his order superiors and install freshness into the complacence and staleness of the Graan.

    ReplyDelete