Republican ‘dumped’ in Wandsworth Jail
Republican ‘dumped’ in Wandsworth Jail

A former IRA prisoner remains in a London prison despite the refusal of juries in two high-profile trials to convict him.


Belfast man Ronnie McCartney is being held in Wandsworth prison and faces a lengthy battle to secure his release.

McCartney was one of the longest serving IRA prisoners during the conflict, having spent 21 years in jail.

He was freed under the Good Friday Agreement but was arrested in April 2008 with Nick Mullen in England.

His trial heard evidence from Billy Power of the Birmingham Six who said McCartney had been instrumental in securing their release from prison after they were wrongfully convicted of involvement in an IRA bombing campaign.

That trial ended when a jury failed to agree on a verdict.

A second trial began in November of last year but ended last month with the second jury also unable to agree a verdict.

The Crown Prosecution Service later announced that it would not seek a third trial.

Mullen walked free but McCartney remains behind bars.

In May 2008, British Direct Ruler Shaun Woodward revoked his early-release licence, saying that intelligence suggested he represented a “serious risk to the public”.

It is understood that McCartney will seek to be transferred back to Ireland before applying for his release.

A spokesman for the republican prisoners group Coiste na n-Iarchimi called for his immediate release.

“The British government revoked Ronnie McCartney’s licence based on supposed intelligence that he was involved in an alleged blackmail,” he said.

“He has now gone through two separate trials, both of which failed to find him guilty of an offence.

“Despite this he finds himself back in prison serving a life sentence.

“We believe he should be released immediately.”


In other news, a former Sinn Fein assembly member believes his son was “fitted up” by “murky” individuals after he was found guilty on explosives charges this week.

36-year-old Turlough McAllister was arrested two years in his grandmother’s former home, where bomb parts were found. On Wednesday, he was jailed for twelve years.

“I have said from the very start that I believe there was more going on In this case ttuln meets the eye,” said. Jim McAlIlster, a member of the 1982 assembly, who has since left Sinn Fein.

He said he did not know if British Crown forces or mainstream republicans were responsible for his son’s imprisonment.

“I think it might have been an amalgamation of both.

“My main hope now is that through the passage of time I will be able to prove that Turlough was fitted up. I’m more convinced now than ever before.”

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