Northern Ireland

Hunger striker Liam Hannaway on prison health watch

Maghaberry prison

A dissident republican on hunger strike for 42 days has been moved to the health care unit at Maghaberry prison.

Liam Hannaway has served almost two and a half years of a 10-year sentence for possessing explosives and ammunition.

His family say he is refusing food in protest at being held in a vulnerable prisoners unit rather than on a wing with other dissidents.

They reject prison authorities' claims his life would be in danger if he was moved to the republican wing.

Hannaway is from a well-known west Belfast republican family and is a relative of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

It is understood the 40-year-old was moved to the health care unit at Maghaberry on Monday night.

Prison sources say there are no immediate concerns for his health and the move is to enable medical staff to monitor his condition more closely.

A Sinn Fein delegation led by Martin McGuinness and Raymond McCartney discussed the situation at Maghaberry with Justice Minister David Ford on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, conditions in the republican wing Hannaway's family say he wants to be moved to are now under investigation after complaints by prisoners.

In a statement, Prisoner Ombudsman Pauline McCabe said she was investigating complaints from a number of prisoners and hoped to produce a report within a few weeks.

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