Prisons chief wins backing

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The Independent Online
THE Government yesterday rallied to the defence of the beleaguered Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Prison Service. Alan Shannon is reeling from an unprecedented vote of no confidence in him by the Prison Governors' Association, which says morale at Ulster's top-security jails is desperately low.

A report is due out next week into the murder of the Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright inside the Maze Prison at Christmas and the earlier jailbreak by the IRA terrorist Liam Averill. The Northern Ireland security minister, Adam Ingram, yesterday gave his support to Mr Shannon, who he said had been "carrying out a difficult task under very trying circumstances in recent times."