The wife and family of republican prisoner Tony Taylor who is being released today after spending almost 1,000 days in Maghaberry Jail without charge say they will be ‘thrilled’ to have him home.
Mr Taylor’s wife Lorraine, who has led the group calling for her husband’s release, paid tribute to all those who helped in the campaign.
“It will really make our Christmas special for us,” she said.
“Myself, the children and Tony’s parents are all delighted and very relieved to have him back with us.
“We are concerned nonetheless at some of the punitive restrictions which continue to be placed on Tony, who has already spent the equivalent of a five-year sentence in jail without charge.”
Mr Taylor’s parents are both seriously ill and housebound, while his son Blaine has a profound disability.
While his legal team and campaign group had always contested his imprisonment on human rights ground, Mr Taylor’s family had recently appealed for his release on humanitarian grounds.
Earlier this month, Mr Taylor’s father Willie made a direct appeal to the Secretary of State for his son’s release.
He said his son’s continued detention was “vindictive and merciless”.
The release of the local man follows a long campaign led by his family, legal team, the local community, local political groups and activists.
Tony Taylor was released from prison in 2014 having spent three years in custody with five further years on license, but was arrested while on a shopping trip and returned his prison after the then Secretary of State Theresa Villiers revoked his licence.
The Free Tony Taylor Facebook page reported this afternoon that “993 days after his arrest the NI Parole Commission have decided to release Tony Taylor”.
Read more: Taylor family: ‘We need our son home’