Maze prison 'controlled by paramilitaries'

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PRISON MANAGERS have lost control of the top security Maze jail in Northern Ireland, it was claimed last night.

Loyalist and republican paramilitaries ruled the H-Blocks, Finlay Spratt of the Prison Officers' Association said, and managers were too frightened to go into some areas of the jail. 'Management is running around like headless chickens. It is just a process of crisis management.'

He was speaking after two senior officers were attacked and beaten with iron bars and snooker cues yesterday in an outbreak of violence in H-Block 7 involving up to 80 loyalist terrorists demanding 24-hour access to lavatory facilities.

Mr Spratt said: 'It's quite clear that the paramilitaries run the place. Our members are nothing but cannon fodder.'