Double-murder accused Colin Duffy has ruled himself out of the running for the European elections.
The family of the dissident republican prisoner made the announcement at an outdoor rally in his home estate in Lurgan last night, after Craigavon Borough Council barred them from using the local community centre.
Duffy’s eldest daughter Caitriona told a rain-soaked crowd of about 200 supporters and media they had decided against running for Brussels due to the costs and manpower required.
She also revealed she was mounting a 48-hour token fast to highlight her father’s imprisonment, while Duffy’s brother Paul said the family was mounting an intensive ‘Justice for Colin Duffy’ campaign to highlight what they claimed was his unfair detention.
Duffy is being held at Magha-berry, charged with the murder of two soldiers at Massereene Army Barracks in Antrim in March.
His mother Ciara also addressed the crowd, claiming her son’s case was “by no means unique”.
She compared it to the cases involving members of the Islamic community in Britain last month “when 12 students were arrested in a blaze of publicity, tried and convicted in the media and later released without charge”.
Caitriona Duffy claimed her father had considered running for Europe, but the logistics required were too much for one family to contemplate, “as we do not have the luxury of hundreds of thousands of pounds from the British Government to help finance an effective election campaign”.
She said: “We will, however, detail our campaign to have my dad Colin released and to highlight the issue of prolonged detention in the Six Counties.”
Paul Duffy told the crowd that, as well as Caitriona’s fast, there would be vigils in other towns including Newry, Dungannon, Strabane, Derry, Lurgan, Coalisland, Dungiven and three in Belfast.
He added: “We will write to all the EU candidates seeking votes in the nationalist and republican community, asking them formally to endorse our campaign for Colin’s release and we advise our supporters not to vote for any candidates who refuse to fully endorse our family’s position in relation to our key objectives.”
He added they would be sending a notice of motion to the district council, calling for full support of the campaign.