HC Deb 15 January 1987 vol 108 c400
9. Mr. Tom Cox

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he last met the Prison Officers Association of Northern Ireland; and what issues were discussed.

Mr. Scott

In view of my day-to-day responsibility for prisons in Northern Ireland, I normally represent my right hon. Friend at meetings with the Northern Ireland Prison Officers Association. I last met national and Northern Ireland Prison Officers Association representatives on 4 October 1985, when we discussed future employment of prison officers and their roles, prison regimes, operational matters, and the programme for opening Maghaberry prison and amalgamating the two prisons at Maze.

Mr. Cox

In view of that answer, which shows that some 18 months have passed since the Minister met prison officers in Northern Ireland, may I suggest that he should, as a matter of urgency, seek to meet them soon? Is he aware of their deep concern as to their security and that of their families, in view of threats often made against them? Is he further aware of the complaint by them about the lack of modern facilities when on duty in prisons in Northern Ireland? As these are urgent matters, should not the Minister give them his attention soon?

Mr. Scott

I am always ready to meet representatives of the Prison Officers Association. They have only to ask to have a meeting. There may be an early opportunity to meet their representatives.