Alliance visits prison to discuss ‘separation’ policy

ALLIANCE Deputy Leader Eileen Bell is part of a party delegation visiting Maghaberry Prison this afternoon to discuss the new separation arrangements with senior staff there.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mrs Bell said: “In Alliance’s submission to Sir John Steele, we said that the safety of both prisoners and staff must be the primary concern in any decisions. However, the publication of the NI Affairs Committee’s report into separation describes this “dangerous” decision as having being taken for “political reasons”.

“Despite the Security Minister’s statement yesterday in the Commons, Alliance wants to ensure that separation does not lead to Maze-style paramilitary control of Maghaberry and that staff involved in implementing this decision are not placed in danger.

“Alliance also has major concerns about the fact that the Steele report’s recommendation that refugees should not be held in Maghaberry has been totally ignored. It is unacceptable that innocent people should be held alongside paramilitaries in defiance of Steele’s proposal, yet the Government apparently bowed to pressure from paramilitaries to accommodate their wishes.”

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