The discussion on Experiences of political conflict took place today at the Waterfront Hall. The excellent play by Martin Lynch The Chronicles of Long Kesh has generated a lot of discussion about that particular aspect of our history. While the prison story here is dominated by the provisionals, the loyalist and prison officers experience has yet to be fully told in our literature and plays. Billy McQuinston a former loyalist prisoner introduces himself and speaks of his experience. He is joined by fellow loyalist prisoner Billy Hutchinson who is indignant about how loyalism is seen in the play and more generally, he says:
I spent 16 years in Long Kesh and every day I was a political prisoner. Everyday, when I got out of bed, I had to think about how I behaved and how I didn’t behave. I had to fight against screws who actually tried to take my dignity away…
We had a cause, and it was a legitimate cause. I think people need to recognise that.
Brian Erskine who was a prison officer tells a little of his story.