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Solicitors for Tony Taylor take legal action amid claims vital medication was withheld

Derry republican Tony Taylor
Connla Young

LAWYERS for jailed Derry republican Tony Taylor say they have launched legal action amid claims he was denied medication in jail earlier this month.

The 48-year-old was returned to prison in March after his early release licence was revoked by then secretary of state Theresa Villiers.

He is currently being held without charge at Maghaberry prison in Co Antrim.

Taylor, who is a member of the Republican Network for Unity, was sentenced to 18 years in 1994 after a premature explosion during which he suffered serious injuries. In 2011 he was sentenced to three years for possession of a rifle.

His solicitor Aiden Carlin last night claimed the republican was denied medication for several days between June 30 and July 6 while being held in the punishment block at Maghaberry prison.

He claims his client was told he was required to receive medication by “supervised swallow”, meaning staff look on as an inmate takes medication.

“Since our client has no history of mental health issues or drugs misuse he refused to comply with such an irrational policy which is at odds with the practice on the separated republican landing where he receives a weekly supply of medication which he administers as and when prescribed,” he said.

“The full impact on our client of having no medication for a week is not yet known.”

Mr Carlin claimed that during the period where his client was not receiving his medication his “blood pressure rose to such an extent at one point that he would ordinarily have been taken to accident and emergency.”

Last week Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he intends to raise Mr Taylor's case with new secretary of state James Brokenshire.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said it could not comment on individual prisoners.

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