Northern Ireland

Maghaberry prison: Dissident republicans inmates seek changes to jail regime

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Media captionA group of 31 dissident republican prisoners aligned to the 'New IRA' want security measures relaxed at Northern Ireland's highest-security jail

Dissident republicans in Maghaberry jail have asked the prison authorities to implement wide-ranging changes they said would reduce tensions in the jail.

Thirty-one prisoners aligned to the group referred to as the New IRA want security measures to be relaxed and improved facilities for prison visits.

They have accused the Northern Ireland Prison Service of breaking the terms of a 2010 agreement to relax security.

The service said a review of that agreement is being carried out.

It added that a report is expected at the end of this month.

'Serious consequences'

The New IRA inmates have sent a 14-page document to the prison authorities, in which they outline their list of proposed changes.

A copy of the document has been obtained by the BBC.

A spokesman for the dissident republican inmates said a number of prison inspection reports had described controls on movement within the dissident wing as too restrictive

However, the Democratic Unionist Party MLA Paul Givan has warned that implementing the prisoners' demands would have "very serious consequences for security".

He said the dissident republican prisoners were some of Northern Irelands "worst criminals" and they needed "strict supervision".

Mr Givan has already raised his concerns about the document with Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford.

The DUP MLA said he "made it explicitly clear to him that these concessions should not be made to republican terrorists".

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