Northern Ireland news

Secretary of State refuses to meet council over Tony Taylor case

Derry prisoner Tony Taylor had his release licence revoked in March 2016.
Seamus McKinney

SECRETARY of State Karen Bradley has said she has no power to overturn a Parole Commission refusal to release high-profile dissident republican prisoner Tony Taylor.

Mrs Bradley also refused to meet Derry City and Strabane District Council to discuss the case.

The Derry man has been held in prison since March 2016 when former Secretary of State Theresa Villiers revoked his early release licence.

He was released under the Good Friday Agreement after being sentenced to 18 years in 1994 for IRA activity, before being jailed for a further three years for possession of a firearm in 2011.

However, since his re-arrest in 2016 he has not been charged with any offence.

Earlier this year the council wrote to Ms Bradley requesting a meeting.

At a meeting of the council yesterday, officials read a letter from Mrs Bradley in which she said she had no power over a planned Parole Commission review later this year and it would be inappropriate for her to comment on the case.

Her response was criticised by Sinn Féin, SDLP and independent councillors.

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