Letter: Interested but not sympathetic

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The Independent Online
Sir: The implication attached to your article (15 May) about Roisin McAliskey that I am a "sympathiser", either with her or with the IRA, is without foundation.

In March, in my capacity as shadow home affairs spokesman, I paid a visit to Holloway prison. In the course of that visit I talked to Ms McAliskey and took an interest in her treatment, as I have done in the cases of other prisoners in recent years. Displaying an interest in the fair and equal treatment of prisoners does not imply sympathy with their particular case or with any cause to which they may or may not be attached - it is simply a matter of humanity and justice.

GEORGE HOWARTH

Parliamentary Under-Secretary

of State, Home office

London SW1

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