27 March 2006

Prison officers cash in on death threats

Daily Ireland


Prison officers, who were given millions in compensation after an alleged threat to their lives, are set to cash in again following a dissident republican death threat.
Prison staff at Maghaberry were told this week that the Real IRA plan to attack them, either on or off duty.
However Daily Ireland has learned that a number of prison officers who work in Bush House, where Real IRA prisoners are held, already received compensation payouts following the ‘Stormontgate’ case.
Despite having already received massive security payouts they could now be entitled to thousands of pounds more because of this latest threat.
Over 1,426 prison workers were told in 2002 that their details were in the hands of republicans following PSNI raids which led to the collapse of the Stormont power sharing Assembly.
Despite the collapse of the case over £28 million (€40.5 million) was paid out in compensation to have the prison staff rehoused and their personal security tightened.
The sum paid out amounted to £20,000 (€28,900) per officer with cameras, lights, reinforced doors and bullet-proof glass being installed at many of their homes.
However, a similar amount could be claimed again because of a potential dissident republican threat.
Head of the Prison Officers Association Finlay Spratt confirmed yesterday: “The same staff who work in Maghaberry may well have already had to move home following the last threat.
“Prison officers never got any benefit from the ceasefire because of these continuing threats.
“If people are named and the threat is serious then they will more than likely have to move home and or review their security situation.
“And some of the staff at Maghaberry have already had to move home once because of potential threats.
“This is very distressing but will not change the way the staff work or how the implement prison policy.”

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