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BBC NI chief security correspondent, Brian Rowan
The Maze prison is unique because of the effect it has had on the community
 real 28k

Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 17:42 GMT 18:42 UK
'Mercy' release for IRA bomber

Two people were killed in the 1996 Docklands bombing
The IRA man responsible for the 1996 Docklands bombing is to be freed on Friday along with the bulk of those imprisoned for paramilitary offences.

James McArdle, 31, was not due to be released until March next year under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Mandelson has used the Royal Prerogative of Mercy to bring forward the bomber's release.

Two people were killed in the bombing of Canary Wharf in February 1996 which brought to an end the first IRA ceasefire.


Jamers McArdle: Release criticised
The move has been criticised by Belfast Lord mayor Sammy Wilson who said the decision was an "absolute scandal".

"In order to keep bombs out of London, the Government is prepared to let London bombers out of jail", said the anti-agreement Democratic Unionist Party assembly member for East Belfast.

"There is no depth to which this Government will stoop in order to placate terrorists."

McArdle, a brick-layer from Crossmaglen, County Armagh, was one of a four man IRA unit responsible for planting the bomb which caused damage amounting to millions of pounds.

The final wave of early releases began this week with the freeing of notorious loyalist killer, Michael Stone, from the Maze prison near Belfast.

A total of 85 prisoners were scheduled to be freed during the week with the bulk being released on Friday.

This leaves less than 20 inmates in the top security prison.

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See also:

24 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Michael Stone: Notorious loyalist killer
24 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Brother's doubts over killer's release
15 Feb 00 | Northern Ireland
Prison officers apply to leave service
24 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Inside the Maze Prison
24 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
The prison that served its time
04 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Maze prison closure on target
28 Feb 00 | Northern Ireland
End in sight for prisoner releases
19 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Killer loses release challenge
Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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Links to more Northern Ireland stories