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By Father Raymond Murray
Father Murray's relentless work in seeking human rights for prisoners in Northern Ireland succeeded in bringing to international attention the institutional violence and repression perpetrated against nationalists in the last three decades. His reports about conditions within Armagh Gaol during his years as prison chaplain demonstrate how Northern Ireland is hugely affected by what goes on in the prisons. The December 1997 murder of loyalist Billy Wright, its phenomenal impact on sectarian hostilities, and the visit of the British Secretary for Northern Ireland the next month to loyalist prisoners are examples of the importance of prison events to outside paramilitary operations on both sides.