Lorraine Taylor calls for mass rally in support of jailed husband Tony

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 wife of a Derry republican jailed last year on the order of former Secretary of State Theresa Villiers says a mass rally and judicial review may be the next steps in the ongoing campaign for his release.

Lorraine Taylor, whose husband Tony has been in Maghaberry since March 2016 when Mrs. Villiers revoked his licence and he was arrested on a shopping trip with his family, has once again called for his immediate release.

The Derry mother-of-three was speaking following a protest at Free Derry corner on Sunday evening.

Mrs. Taylor explained how her family’s nightmare was continuing after Mr. Taylor was once again denied his freedom by a parole panel.

She said: “It’s had a devastating impact on the children.

Sometimes it seems like we have no voice, that nobody’s listening. Is he to be locked up, put aside, and forgotten about? It’s not going to happen with me, because I have a voice.”

Mrs. Taylor called on supporters of the Free Tony Taylor campaign, regardless of politics, to consider uniting for a mass rally in the city in the weeks ahead.

She also indicated that her husband’s legal team was considering seeking a judicial review of his case.

“I’m asking everybody, all the groups right across the whole spectrum, to come together and have a mass rally and that all the people who have supported Tony and the family can come together.

“When you look at the election, with Sinn Féin and SDLP with 18,000 voters each, and then all the other groups, I’m putting it out there, TDs, trade unionists, everybody has power. If everybody put their energies together for a massive one day rally to show that they’re behind us, it would be very powerful.”

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney said he will be again raising Mr. Taylor’s incarceration with the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

“The refusal to release Tony Taylor raises very serious concerns about political interference in the criminal justice system in the North,” he said.

“Tony Taylor’s detention continues to be wrong and is a violation of his human rights. He should be released immediately.

“I will be making very robust representations to the NIO regarding this decision and its deeply negative implications for the justice system in the North”

Mrs. Taylor said: “A man’s lying in jail with nothing on him. He’s innocent. Innocent. It’s really heartbreaking to think he’s been sitting in jail for over 460 days.”