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5 February 1998 Edition

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Life tariffs `outrageous'

By Marcas Mac Ruairí

SINN Féin Vice President Pat Doherty has described as outrageous and vindictive the setting of a natural life tariff on four republican prisoners.

And he has called for the immediate release of Hugh Doherty (Donegal), Harry Duggan and Joe O Connell (both from Clare) and Eddie Butler (Limerick) who are all in their 23rd year of imprisonment.

The setting of the tariff now opens the way for the four men to be repatriated to Port Laoise.

Mr Doherty said, ``The setting of a natural life tariff on four republican prosoners who have already served almost 23 years in jail is outrageous and vindictive and displays the callous nature of the British authorities' treatment of Irish poitical prisoners.

``This decision is a serious blow to the families of these four men.

``The setting of natural life tariffs at a time when we are trying to build the peace process is intolerable and indeed calls into question the ability and willingness of the British government to address prison-related matters in anything nearing a construtcive and progressive manner.

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