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Committee writes to Northern Ireland Secretary over prisoner concerns

Cross-party politicians in the Republic are writing to the UK's secretary of state for Northern Ireland over concerns about prisoners.

The Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement said they have serious concerns about the arrest and detention without trial of Tony Taylor in Maghaberry jail near Lisburn.

Committee chair Kathleen Funchion, a Sinn Fein TD in Carlow-Kilkenny, said they also heard a number of concerns about conditions for both prisoners and staff in the prison.

She said they wanted to have a meeting with James Brokenshire on the issue.

"The committee will be writing to the secretary of state for Northern Ireland to request a meeting as soon as possible to discuss prisoner issues," she said.

Taylor, from Derry, is a republican who was convicted of a bomb attack in Derry in the 1990s before being released under licence following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The committee met his family recently.

In early 2014 Taylor admitted possession of a firearm and later that year he was released from Maghaberry having served three years on remand in custody with another five years to be served on licence.

That licence was revoked in March 2016.

A private parole hearing for Taylor was held during the week in Belfast and he remains in custody.

He is due for release in August 2019 if his licence is not reactivated before then.

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