Father of murdered loyalist to meet Dublin officials on killing


Mr David Wright, the father of murdered Portadown loyalist, Billy Wright, will travel to Dublin today to meet officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs in an effort to enlist support for his campaign to have a public inquiry into the circumstances of his son's death inside the Maze prison in 1997.

Billy Wright had been serving an eight-year prison sentence in H Block 6 at the Maze prison when he was shot dead by three members of the INLA as he sat in a prison van.

Since the murder in December 1997, Mr David Wright has been calling on the British government to hold a public inquiry into his son's death, which Mr Wright alleges was "a political conspiracy".

However, until recently his campaign had met with little success. The British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, and the Northern Secretary, Dr Mo Mowlam, refused to hold any form of inquiry or to meet representatives of the Wright family to discuss their concerns.

This lack of response from the British authorities prompted Mr Wright to contact the Taoiseach's office and ask for a meeting with Mr Ahern.

Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, Mr Wright said: "I am grateful that officials of the Dublin Government can make time to meet me. I welcome the opportunity to talk with them. Their attitude to the concerns of my family and myself is in stark contrast to that of my own government who continually refuse to meet with me to address the very serious questions which remain unanswered about my son's execution."

These questions, Mr Wright said, include: why a prison guard was ordered out of the watchtower overlooking the area where his son was killed minutes before the murder; why security cameras monitoring the area of H Block 6 were non-operational on the morning of the murder; and how the killers knew precisely where to cut a hole in security fencing while remaining undetected by prison security.

Meanwhile, unionist politicians at Stormont, including the First Minister, Mr David Trimble, are backing the call by the Wright family for a public inquiry to be held into the murder.