Speaking after reports suggesting that the Government was pressured into a policy of separation at HMP Maghaberry by paramilitaries, Alliance Party Deputy Leader Eileen Bell stated:
“Separation of prisoners at Maghaberry was something that many law-abiding citizens accepted with a heavy heart. People don’t want to see paramilitaries being rewarded for violence; they want to avoid a slippery slope where the prisoners gradually take over control of the prison, just as they did in the Maze.
“The only rationale for the conclusions of the Steele report can be the safety of both prisoners and prison staff. Alliance is most concerned at any suggestions that there were wider political motives for decisions taken. I believe it is incumbent on the Security Minister to make a fresh statement to clarify the rationale behind the change of regime in Maghaberry.”