IRA prisoner transfers agreed

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London and Dublin have reached agreement on transferring 20 more republican prisoners in British jails to complete their sentences in the Irish Republic.

Dublin sources said the deal, to be confirmed early next week, will start with three IRA prisoners whose transfers are already pending, followed shortly by six more, once enabling legislation has been passed by the Dail before Christmas. This will harmonise long-term fixed sentence tariffs between the two jurisdictions.

The remaining 11 will move in the New Year. Irish sources stressed the prisoners will not be released earlier than if held in Britain, but will bring them closer to families.