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Northern Ireland Referendum: Release Of Prisoners

Volume 592: debated on Thursday 30 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will state under which powers they released terrorist prisoners to campaign for a yes vote in the recent Northern Ireland Referendum campaign. [HL3031]

As I indicated to the noble Lord in my Answer to a related Question on 1 June (Official Report, col. 16), my right honourable friend the Secretary of State authorised the release of four prisoners to attend the reconvened Sinn Fein Ardfeish early in May. Rule 27 of the Prison and Young Offenders Centre Rules (Northern Ireland) 1995 governs the temporary release of convicted prisoners in Northern Ireland and provides the legislative authority for the Northern Ireland Prison Service's temporary release schemes.