I AM responding to the letter by Mary Brennan, “Strip Search Horror,” in the February 23-March 1 issue.

Well, Ms. Brennan, as one who is strip searched every time one goes on a visit, to hospital, to court or just transferred from one place to another, in a black box, hand cuffs and belly chain, and leg shackles . . . one feels that the lad across the pond she wrote about in Maghaberry in Co. Antrim is a bit of a wuss!  Any true Republican knows that sacrifice is the price you pay.

And, Ms. Brennan, I’m in the federal prison system in America. I was once in Long Kesh, the Maze, the H-Blocks, whichever name you wish to call it. We called it hell. But it was our sacrifice, and it’s what we did.

And, Ms. Brennan, it was not done for notoriety or self-bravado. The sacrifice was for a people against British oppression.  Men starved, died, ran the fray, were beaten and even raped by the screws, Ms. Brennan.

I’m a bank robber from the Ardoyne. My money went to Ireland.  I am also dying of cancer and will likely never see Eire again.

But I’m fine with that. I did what I was sent here to do. No complaints, lass.

I’ll end this with a saying from an old comrade of mine:

“It lights the dark of this prison cell,
It thunders forth its might,
It is the undauntable thought, my friend,
That thought that says I’m right.”
--Marcella, H-Block, Long Kesh Prison Camp.

Lorcan McCoy
U.S. Penitentiary
Terre Haute, Indiana