Sinn Fein have welcomed the ‘belated’ release of republican prisoner Tony Taylor.
In a statement Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said: “News of Tony Taylor’s release today is welcome but doesn’t change the fact that he should never have been returned to prison in the first place.
“His release comes after 993 days wrongful detention, during which time the British Government consistently failed to produce any evidence which could in any way justify his incarceration.
“Tony Taylor’s return to prison was a clear violation of his human rights and Sinn Féin opposed his detention from the start and consistently campaigned and lobbied for his release.
“We welcome the fact that the right thing has now been done – albeit belatedly - and Tony can return to his family.”
His wife Lorraine, who led a group campaigning for his release said: “It will really make our Christmas special for us.
“Myself, the children and Tony’s parents are all delighted and very relieved to have him back with us.
“We are concerned nonetheless at some of the punitive restrictions which continue to be placed on Tony, who has already spent the equivalent of a five-year sentence in jail without charge.”
Mr Taylor’s parents are both seriously ill and housebound, while his son Blaine has a profound disability.
While his legal team and campaign group had always contested his imprisonment on human rights ground, Mr Taylor’s family had recently appealed for his release on humanitarian grounds.
Earlier this month, Mr Taylor’s father Willie made a direct appeal to the Secretary of State for his son’s release.