The media go inside the Maze Prison to meet prisoners ahead of a visit by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Twenty four hours before Northern Ireland's Secretary of State Mo Mowlam makes an unprecedented visit to the Maze Prison, the media are allowed rare access to the prison and its loyalist and republican prisoners.

The visit was permitted to counteract the perception of a lax regime at the prison. 

On the loyalist wing, David Davin-Power met UFF (Ulster Freedom Fighters) prisoners Sam McRory, Johnny Adair and Michael Stone, who consider themselves to be political prisoners. 

Commenting on the planned visit of Mo Mowlam, Michael Stone said that loyalists would listen but would not negotiate. 

Just yards away, in the Republican wing, IRA (Irish Republican Army) inmates Padraig Wilson and Jim Veigh, along with others, have yet to decide if they will agree to meet with Mo Mowlam on her visit tomorrow. However, they did stress that they supported Sinn Féin's talks strategy stressing

We want to make this process work.

The Maze Prison Governor Martin Mogg gave his full backing to the visit of Mo Mowlam. 

I think it's a very brave decision. The Secretary of State is determined to do all she can to pursue the peace process and I think this could well be a step towards that.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 8 January 1998. The reporter is David Davin-Power.