Irish politicians’ concern at detention of Tony Taylor

Derry republican Tony Taylor.
Derry republican Tony Taylor.

Cross-party politicians in the Republic are writing to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland over concerns about a Derry prisoner.

The Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement says it has serious concerns about the arrest and detention without trial of Tony Taylor in Maghaberry Jail near Lisburn.

Committee chair Kathleen Funchion, a Sinn Fein TD in Carlow-Kilkenny, said they also had a number of concerns about conditions for both prisoners and staff in the prison.

She said they wanted to have a meeting with James Brokenshire on the issue.

“The committee will be writing to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to request a meeting as soon as possible to discuss prisoner issues,” she said.

Tony Taylor, from Derry city, is a republican who was convicted of a bomb attack in Derry in the 1990s before being released under licence following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The committee met his family recently.

In early 2014, the Derry man admitted possession of a firearm and later that year he was released from Maghaberry having served three years on remand in custody with another five years to be served on licence.

That licence was revoked in March 2016.

A private parole hearing for Tony Taylor was held during the week in Belfast and he remains in custody.

He is due for release in August 2019 if his licence is not reactivated before then.