First trailer released for Maze prison escape drama

The Maze was said to be the most secure prison in Europe during the 1980s. Picture by Brendan Murphy
The Maze was said to be the most secure prison in Europe during the 1980s. Picture by Brendan Murphy

A DRAMATIC trailer for a film documenting the mass escape of IRA prisoners from the Maze has been released, with critics already praising the performance of lead actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor for his role in the prison break film.

Maze, tells the story of the notorious prison break of 38 IRA prisoners from what was said at the time to be the most secure prison in Europe.

Vaughan-Lawlor, best known for playing Nidge in the RTÉ gangster drama Love/Hate, plays Larry Marley, one of the figures who masterminded the escape which was the biggest breakout in British history.

Marley was shot dead in April 1987 by the UVF at his home in Ardoyne in north Belfast. His funeral was delayed for three days after the RUC moved in and placed a cordon around the street.

Among the other prisoners involved in the planning the escape were current Sinn Féin chairman Bobby Storey and North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly.

The film, which was written and directed by Stephen Burke, is due to go on general release on September 22, with Marley as the central character.

A second film about the Maze prison escape is currently in production. However the project, directed by Jim Sheridan is believed to have been postponed until next year to avoid the two dramas clashing.

One prison officer died of a heart attack as a result of the escape and 20 others were injured, including two who were shot with guns that had been smuggled into the jail.

The escape was considered a major propaganda coup for the IRA.

The then secretary of state James Prior ordered an inquiry headed up by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons, James Hennessy.

The Hennessy Report was published in January 1984 placed most of the blame for the escape on prison staff, and made a series of recommendations to improve security at the prison.