Northern Ireland news

Irish officials raised concerns about Billy Wright's move to the Maze months before LVF leader's murder

Former LVF founder and leader Billy Wright was killed inside the Maze prison by the INLA in December 1997. Picture from Pacemaker
Éamon Phoenix

Irish officials raised concerns about LVF leader Billy Wright's move from Maghaberry jail in Co Antrim to the nearby Maze prison months before he was shot dead.

Portadown-based LVF and former UVF leader was moved from segregated accommodation at Maghaberry to the Maze "for his own safety".

Newly-released files show Irish officials voiced concerns about the move.

At a delegation meeting of the Anglo-Irish Secretariat on April 17, 1997, the Irish Joint Secretary, David Donoghue raised Wright's transfer with his British counterparts.

He voiced concerns about Wright’s possible motive behind the move and its implications for the loyalist ceasefire.

Peter Bell of the Northern Ireland Office said that the decision of the north's prison agency to transfer Wright to the Maze, which was designed to house high-risk prisoners, was made on pragmatic grounds and for the maintenance of order within the prison system. He added that the Secretary of State would be consulted.


The move would prove fatal for Wright, responsible for multiple sectarian murders in Mid-Ulster in the 1980s and 1990s. On December 27 1997 he was shot dead by INLA prisoners whose compound adjoined his cell in the Maze.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news