Frances Black has become the latest figure to call for the release of Derry republican, Tony Taylor, who has been in Maghaberry since his licence was revoked by erstwhile Secretary of State for the North, Theresa Villiers, in March 2016.
The Dublin singer-songwriter whose people are from Rathlin Island, said: “In the past number of years some people have been marginalised and imprisoned without charge for years.
“The case of Tony Taylor comes to mind. He is incarcerated in Maghaberry Prison.
“His wife [Lorraine] outlined his awful living conditions when she presented to the Joint [Oireachtas] Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The mistreatment of prisoners has long been a cause of unrest and must not become a threat to the peace process. All politicians should make their voices heard in calling for his release as no evidence has been produced to justify his detention.”
The singer, who famously contributed to the seminal folk record, ‘A Woman’s Heart’, in 1992, made the comments during a debate in the Seanad, where she is a senator on the Industrial and Commercial Panel. During the same debate she called for Irish unity.
“The abandonment of the Six Counties in 1922 has left a deep scar in the Irish psyche. I believe that it has a parallel with the guilt felt by parents who abandon a child. The Minister may not like me saying it but that is how I feel.
“I also believe that the main southern parties have an obligation to organise throughout the Thirty-two Counties and advance their stated objective of the reunification of Ireland.”