Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Why should we foot bill for Irish drug dealer?

WHY is Michaella McCollum Connolly being repatriated to a Northern Ireland jail?

When she was arrested for her crime, she gave her nationality as Irish, she was travelling on an Irish passport and was given consular advice from Dublin.

Many other aspects of the initial campaign to free this "innocent Irish girl" would indicate that her loyalty did not lie with the United Kingdom – far from it. The Justice Minister, David Ford, who is supporting this extradition bid, needs to tell us why the Irish Republic will not repatriate her.

We need to know what her legal fees are costing the Justice budget, what her solicitors will be paid out of UK taxation for representing her, as well as the cost to the UK taxpayer of her stay at the Hydebank women's prison.

Will he, through the Finance Department, send this bill to the Republic for payment? After all, Mr Ford has recently used the media to plead poverty.

Finally, if this woman is repatriated here will the minister insist that she does not get early release, or profit from her crime by writing a book, or even appearing on celebrity shows when she is released from jail?

If she has made any money so far from her foul crime, will he use proceeds of crime legislation to recover this?

She was caught smuggling cocaine that kills.

She should be paying the full price for her crime – not profiting from it.

UK PASSPORT-HOLDER

Lisburn, Co Antrim

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