Belfast Telegraph

Derry dissident Tony Taylor 'delighted' to be back home after his release from jail

By Leona O'Neill

Dissident republican Tony Taylor was released from jail yesterday after almost 1,000 days.

Taylor was released from Maghaberry shortly before 5pm yesterday and was driven straight to his mother and father's house in Londonderry's Creggan estate.

Due to the restrictions placed upon him to secure his release, he is not permitted to speak about his case and has to adhere to strict conditions, including a 10pm curfew.

Taylor was returned to Maghaberry in March 2016, on the instructions of the then Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

He said he was glad that his "family's nightmare" was finally over.

He added: "I'm delighted. It's great to be back home with my wife, family and mother and father. Due to strict conditions I have to be very careful as to what I say.

"I can't talk about my internment or anything around that at all.

"But regarding being home again, it's great.

"I'm delighted that the whole thing is over and I'm glad and grateful for the people of Derry and further afield who campaigned for two-and-a-half years, ending in my release.

"It was a great feeling to come in the door to my mother and father's house.

"To see them and to know that I am here for them to help them out.

"It's a great feeling and they are happy I'm here."

The Northern Ireland Office said his licence was revoked by the Parole Commission because of "the risk he posed to the public". However, he was not charged with or convicted of any new offence.

Mr Taylor, a former IRA man, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 1994 after he was seriously injured in a premature explosion in Derry.

He was then released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

In 2011, he was sentenced to three years for possession of a rifle in a case that made history by using covert surveillance evidence gathered by a drone.

Earlier, the DUP's Gregory Campbell questioned Mr Taylor's release and sought clarity over restrictions put on him with regards to "public safety concerns".

When asked what had changed in Mr Taylor's circumstances to initiate his release the Northern Ireland Office said: "This is a matter for the Parole Commission."

The Parole Commission told the Belfast Telegraph that "under rule 22 of the commissioner's rule we couldn't give out any information" on the matter.

Sinn Fein Foyle Assembly member Raymond McCartney said: "News of Tony Taylor's release is welcome but doesn't change the fact that he should never have been returned to prison in the first place."

Belfast Telegraph

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