Written Answers. - Release of Prisoners.

Tony Killeen

Question:

97 Mr. Killeen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress, if any, that has been made to secure the release of two prisoners (details supplied) from County Clare who have been imprisoned in Britain for over 20 years. [16325/96]

The Deputy will be aware from my reply to his previous written question on 23 March 1995 — Official Report, Vol. 451, No. 1, Question No. 28 — that the Irish Embassy in London has raised the situation of these two prisoners with the relevant British authorities on a previous occasion. On my instructions, the Embassy has now raised the questions of the possible setting of a release date for the two prisoners with the relevant British authorities. Those authorities have advised that the next review of the two prisoners' cases by the parole board is scheduled to take place in 1998. The first review was in 1992. The British authorities further advise that the prisoners will be informed before the end of this year if there is any change in the length of the tariff or penal element of their sentence. As I have indicated before, the particular release arrangements in these cases is a matter to be pursued by the prisoners and their legal advisers. As both prisoners have applied for transfer to prison in this jurisdiction under the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, I would repeat that the Government stands ready to receive such prisoners.