Durkan raises ‘extreme distress’ of Tony Taylor family and seeks meeting with Sugden

Tony Taylor with his Lorraine and, son Bliain and daughters Nicole and Ellie-Jo.
Tony Taylor with his Lorraine and, son Bliain and daughters Nicole and Ellie-Jo.

The Justice Minister Claire Sugden has indicated she may be willing to meet with the family of Derry republican Tony Taylor to hear their concerns over his ongoing incarceration after the issue was raised at Stormont by the SDLP MLA Mark H. Durkan.

The Foyle MLA, whose party colleagues on Derry City and Strabane District Council are among those who have called for his release, said Mr. Taylor’s ongoing imprisonment is causing the Taylor family great anguish.

Ms. Sugden said she was aware of the case but indicated it was a matter for the Secretary of State James Brokenshire, whose predecessor Theresa Villiers, revoked Mr. Taylor’s licence last year.

Notwithstanding this, Ms. Sugden, who was addressed in an open letter by Mr. Taylor’s wife Lorraine at Christmas, said she would be willing to meet the family pending other diary commitments.

Mr. Durkan highlighted how the Republican Network for Unity (RNU) member has “been incarcerated for 10 months after having had his licence revoked, albeit he has not been charged with any offence and no evidence or information to support his imprisonment has been forthcoming”.

Mr. Durkan said: “The Minister will understand that this has been an extremely distressing time for the Taylor family.”

He asked if Ms. Sugden would “be prepared to meet the family with me and perhaps make representation on their behalf thereafter, or at least establish the facts around the case with the Secretary of State”.

Ms. Sugden replied: “As always, I am willing to have a conversation with any Members on any issue that they want to raise with me. Therefore, if Mr. Durkan wants to get in touch with my diary secretary, we can arrange that.”