HC Deb 27 June 1974 vol 875 cc1711-2
9. Mr. Norman Fowler

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what maximum security conditions are available for women prisoners in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Orme

The prison at Armagh is at present the only institution in Northern Ireland for women prisoners. Security at the prison is kept under continuous review.

Mr. Fowler

Will the right hon. Gentleman say to which prison the Price sisters will be transferred? Does he agree that at present there is no women's prison in Northern Ireland, including Armagh, which provides adequate security for these prisoners, and that the only way that this can be provided is by placing fresh demands on the security forces?

Mr. Orme

I cannot answer the first part of the Question at the moment. There is a women's prison in Northern Ireland, and I cannot go further than the state ment by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Mr. McNamara

How many women have escaped from Armagh since the prison was built?

Mr. Orme

To my knowledge, none.

Mr. McCusker

The prison in Armagh is in what is known as a Loyalist area of the town, and for the past five years it has been the focal point of a steady stream of protests and demonstrations which has led to riot situations between inhabitants and security forces—

Mr. Stallard

So has Brixton.

Mr. McCusker

My constituents would not welcome the transfer of the Price sisters, because this would result in an unending stream of protest. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider opening a high security wing at the Maze or Magilligan Camp?

Mr. Orme

The siting of prisons is a difficult matter. The Government are always unpopular when they decide to put a prison in or near any hon. Member's constituency. On the general principle, the security arrangements at Armagh are adequate.