Gunmen attack Armagh prison officers' homes

 

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating gun attacks on the homes of two prison officers in Co Armagh.

In one attack, a number of shots were fired at a house in Mourne Road, Lurgan, hitting the porch and a upstairs window.

At the same time, shots were fired into the living room of a house a few miles away at Drumanphy Road, Portadown.

No one was injured in either attack but they were the latest in a sudden re-emergence of targeting of prison officers.

The Prison Officers Association said it was as a result of a crackdown by the authorities on the smuggling of drugs into the top security Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim.

Trained sniffer drugs were moved into the jail late last year and have had a major impact on drug smuggling.

Mr Finlay Spray of the POA said: "Over this last two weeks alone at Maghaberry, 170 visitors have been turned away with traces of drugs on them.

"There is no doubt in my mind these attacks are taking place against prison officers in an attempt to intimidate them into being not so vigilant within the prison."

Shortly before Christmas, a visitor to Ulster Freedom Fighter leader Johnny Adair was detected to have drugs on him and was refused an open visit.

Mr Robin Halward, director general of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, said the latest attacks were "deplorable".

PA