Last night, a spokesman for the families support group Families Acting for Innocent Relative, based in the city of S-darmagh, said the released prisoners would celebrate as their members comforted people in tears. Conservative party spokesman in the north, Andrew Mackay, sympathized with the plight of relatives and said the release program should have been more closely linked to the effective dismantling of weapons. 3. Both governments will complete a review process within a specified time frame and set predictable release dates for all qualified prisoners. The review procedure would provide for the anticipation of the release dates of qualified prisoners, taking into account the seriousness of the offences for which the person was convicted and the need to protect the community. In addition, if circumstances permit, all qualified prisoners who remained in detention two years after the settlement began will be released on that date. A total of 428 terrorists have been released since the program began 22 months ago, 143 of whom were serving life sentences. Serial killers and bombers, many of whom are responsible for the worst atrocities committed in 30 years of violence in the province, were released today to be greeted by cheering supporters. On the day of Magee`s release, Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged that the releases were «very difficult to digest.» In early 1999, Opposition Leader William Hague called for an end to early release because he said the deluge of sanctions on both sides was contrary to the Good Friday agreement. One of the most controversial parts of the Good Friday agreement was the decision to grant early release to some paramilitary prisoners. Up to 500 pre-agreement loyalist and republican prisoners are expected to be released before the program deadline, which is currently set for July 2000. Prisoners sentenced to five years or more in prison serve only one-third of their sentence. Prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment serve prison terms comparable to those of a non-convict who has not been convicted of terrorist crimes, less than one third.
Four paramilitary groups, the IRA Continues, the Real IRA, the Red Hand Defenders and the Orange Volunteers, are not eligible for the release of prisoners, as they were not in a ceasefire at the time of the agreement. The publications were a radical move to win the support of the broader republican and loyalist communities in favour of the Good Friday Agreement. But politicians and the families of the victims are struggling to accept the deal, as well-known assassins such as Patrick Magee, the man responsible for the 1984 Brighton bombing that killed five people at a Conservative party congress, are released. On the day of Magee`s release, Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged that the releases were «very difficult to digest.» In early 1999, Opposition Leader William Hague called for an end to early release because he said the deluge of sanctions on both sides was contrary to the Good Friday agreement. The audience is also divided, as emails sent to BBC News Onlinees Talking Point showed that «Mr Blair should bear in mind that appeasement did not work for Mr Chamberlain,» wrote Jon Vincent of the United Kingdom.