HC Deb 09 May 2001 vol 368 c104
5. Mr. Michael Connarty (Falkirk, East)

What procedures he has put in place to monitor the activities of former paramilitary prisoners; and if he will make a statement. [159619]

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. Adam Ingram)

Arrangements are in place to ensure that the Northern Ireland Prison Service is advised if any former prisoner, including former paramilitary prisoners, who is subject to licence conditions comes to the attention of the police for adverse behaviour. It is then for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to consider whether such a prisoner has breached the terms of the licence, and to make a decision on recall to prison.

Mr. Connarty

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Does not he think that people in other parts of the UK might have more confidence in the Good Friday agreement if events such as have occurred in my constituency were not possible? A cowardly UVF murderer who killed innocent Protestants and Catholics is now threatening the people in my constituency. Would not it be better if the licence contained the simple wording that appears in the equivalent licence for Scottish prisoners, which enjoins prisoners that they

shall be of good behaviour and shall keep the peace"? Would not that give the police some leverage when it came to reporting misdemeanours?

Mr. Ingram

I am aware that a former life sentence prisoner who was given[...] early release under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 has been presenting problems for the social work services in Falkirk, and therefore for the community as well. Arrangements are in place to ensure that the Northern Ireland Prison Service is told of any former prisoner who is subject to licence coming to the attention of the police, whether in Great Britain or in Northern Ireland. The police in my hon. Friend's constituency have not as yet drawn this case to the attention of the Prison Service. If my hon. Friend cares to write to me with further details of the case, I will give it active consideration.