HC Deb 28 October 1976 vol 918 cc332-3W
19. Mr. Sproat

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to end the payment of social security funds to support IRA terrorists, temporarily released over Christmas and other holidays.

Mr. Concannon

Prisoners on parole from prisons in Northern Ireland are not entitled to social security payments.

Mr. Sproat

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the cost to social security funds of payments to wives or other members of the families of IRA terrorists during the coming Christmas period to meet increased family expenses because of the temporary release of such IRA terrorists.

Mr. Concannon

The Northern Ireland Office grants short periods of parole at Christmas to selected prisoners of good behaviour who are nearing the end of their sentences. This applies to all categories of prisoners. Those prisoners who claim affiliation to the Provisional IRA very rarely choose to take Christmas or summer parole. Therefore, if the scheme is continued on the same basis as last year, the cost of increasing supplementary benefit awards to Provisional IRA prisoners' families would represent a minute fraction of the total estimated cost of £250.