Abducted Wexford priest Fr Michael Sinnott is alive and receiving treatment for his heart condition from his kidnappers in the Philippines, reports claimed last night.
Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly and an aide to former British prime minister Tony Blair are involved in secret talks aimed at securing the Columban missionary's freedom.
Fr Sinnott (78) was abducted in Pagadian City on the island of Mindanao over two weeks ago.
Fears had been raised over his health due to a heart condition that led to a quadruple heart bypass four years ago.
However, Mr Kelly revealed last night that he had been given medication from the kidnappers for the illness.
“The fact that there is word from the kidnappers is actually being looked upon as a good thing and there has been word from the kidnappers in terms of a ransom,” he said.
“So this is all good news that he is in good health and they believe they know, at least, the area . . . where he is.”
Mr Kelly is working alongside former Downing Street chief of staff Jonathon Powell as part of the negotiating team.