Republican Women Prisoners

Martina Anderson

My name is Martina Anderson I am 35 years old and from the Bogside in Derry. I come from a Republican family and was from early years informed as to the particular political difficulties underlying the struggle in Ireland. At the age of 18 I was arrested and charged with causing an explosion and with possession of a firearm. On being granted bail I crossed the border and remained on the run until my subsequent arrest some years later. In 1985 four comrades and I were arrested in Scotland and charged in England with conspiracy to cause explosions. In 1986 we were given life sentences in the Old Bailey in London. Two of us were moved to Durham Prison in England where we remained until 1994 when we were transferred to a jail in the Six-Counties, Maghaberry, where I am currently held. In 1989 I married my fiancee Paul Kavanagh from Belfast. He had been arrested the year before me and sentenced in England to life with a 35 year recommendation. He was transferred with me to the Six-Counties and is currently held in Long Kesh.

Since arrest I have pursued an on-going programme of study advancing from second level to the achievement of a first class honours degree in Social Science. I now intend to undertake a Master's degree in the same field. I have taken some training in basic computer skills and furthermore partake in a wood-work course on a daily basis. I am very interested in physical training and 'work-out' every day. I have been and remain determined to use my time in prison as constructively as possible. Like my comrades, I fully support the current strategy pursued by the Republican leadership.