‘Get out of jail card’ for Murray
‘Get out of jail card’ for Murray

A suspected British Crown ‘agent provocateur’ has simply walked out of Maghaberry Prison in the North.

In February, self-styled dissident republican Paddy Murray was one of three men sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to abduction and assault charges.

At that time Murray publicly denied speculation that he was a Special Branch agent.

Jailed in 1994 for involvement in the Provisional IRA, he was released in 2000 under the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.

After initially acting as a Sinn Féin spokesman in Antrim he became an outspoken critic of the party.

He was involved in a series of high-profile disputes with loyalists and mainstream republicans on the Rathenraw estate in Antrim in 2002.

In 2005 he was accused of heightening sectarian tensions in Ballymena after organising a republican parade in the town.

In October last year he went into hiding and said police had warned him he was about to be killed by the Real IRA, which accused him of being a Special Branch agent.

Despite being sentenced and jailed alongside brothers David and Brian McAllister in February, a spokesman confirmed this week that Murray is “no longer in the custody of the Northern Ireland Prison Service”.

He is reported to have been “spirited out” of the County Antrim jail six weeks ago and moved to Britain under a witness protection scheme.

Lawyers acting for Murray’s co-accused have demanded to know how the suspected informer had walked free from prison after having served just six months of a four-year jail term.

Peter Corrigan of Kevin Winters and Co called for a public inquiry into the affair.


Meanwhile, a ‘dirty protest’ by republican prisoners from both the Real IRA and INLA in Portlaoise jail ended within 24 hours this week when two prisoners who had been placed in segregation were released.

Problems began on Saturday when a number of cells on the INLA’s E4 landing of the maximum security jail were searched.

The prisoners objected to the heavy-handed searches, which they said were provocative and intimidatory. As the searches continued over the weekend, and without an explanation from the prison authorities, the INLA prisoners decided to commence a protest.

On Monday morning, they refused to ‘slop-out’ their chamber pots, instead emptying the contents onto the landing of their wing of the prison.

The INLA prisoners later broke through meshing which divides their cells from the Real IRA’s E3 landing below. The two groups of prisoners joined forces and demanded that two INLA prisoners who had been placed in segregation be returned to their cells. The prisoners in segregation were released and the protest ended.

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said the protest was “minor” and “non violent”. It had been dealt with quickly and in a non-confrontational manner.

He claimed the two INLA prisoners had been placed in segregation to “ease tensions” and not as punishment.

There are eight INLA and 30 Real IRA prisoners held at the jail. The protest is believed the first time that members of the two groups had held a joint protest.

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© 2008 Irish Republican News