Stewart Dickson MLA said: “I would like to pay tribute to the men and women of our Prison Service who show incredible bravery and courage on a daily basis to deliver a safer Northern Ireland. We think particularly of the family of David Black, who was brutally murdered on his way to work and made the ultimate sacrifice to keep people safe.
“The Stocktake Report into the Maghaberry Prison Agreement makes reference to the ongoing intimidation of staff. Some have received specific threats and have had to move home. This despicable activity has no place in Northern Ireland. It is not justified and never has been.
“The report acknowledges that in the face of such challenges and difficulties, significant progress has nevertheless been made, and staff are to be commended in this regard.
“The report also makes clear that no changes should be made that would compromise the security and safety of the prison, its staff and prisoners. Some have suggested that the recommendations will do the opposite, but they are wrong. David Ford has made absolutely clear that he has not, and will not, compromise on security, and his record stands on that issue. None of the recommendations risk a return to the conditions that once existed in the Maze prison, and if they did, David Ford would reject them outright. The Maze conditions were ridiculous, and so is any claim that David Ford would allow them to be reinstated in Maghaberry.”