Northern Ireland

Political leaders demand release of jailed republican Tony Taylor

High-profile republican Tony Taylor. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 
High-profile republican Tony Taylor. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 

NATIONALIST, republican and socialist politicians have come together to support a campaign for the release from prison of Tony Taylor.

The former IRA prisoner had his licence revoked in March on the instructions of Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

He was later informed that she was acting on information from security agency MI5.

The Derry man was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 1994 after he was seriously injured in a premature explosion in the city.

He was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement but in 2011 was jailed for three years for possession of a rifle.

His case made history when it was revealed surveillance evidence against him was gathered by a drone.

At a meeting in Derry, politicians united behind a new campaign for the 49-year-old's release.

It was addressed by former SDLP environment minister Mark H Durkan, who pledged his party’s support for the calls for Taylor’s release.

People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann and Sinn Fein councillor Paul Fleming also spoke at the meeting.

Mr McCann described Taylor’s re-arrest as a scandal.

“I’m in favour of people being given due process,” he said.

The meeting was also addressed by independent assembly candidate Anne McCloskey, who is Taylor's GP, as well as independent councillor Gary Donnelly.

A protest to highlight the case was held in Letterkenny during Wednesday’s visit to the town by Prince Charles.

Plans were also announced for a protest rally in Derry some time around the anniversary of the introduction of internment in August.