Northern Ireland

Marian Price 'internment' claim refuted by NIO

Marian Price
Image caption Marian Price has been held on licence since she appeared at a dissident republican rally in Londonderry last year

The Northern Ireland Office has said the secretary of state "entirely refutes" the allegation that republican Marian Price is being effectively interned without trial.

Earlier, a priest described the continuing detention of the Old Bailey bomber as a form of internment.

She has been in custody in Maghaberry Prison since May last year.

Secretary of State Owen Paterson revoked her licence after she appeared at a dissident republican rally.

A meeting of supporters campaigning for her release was held in Londonderry on Thursday night.

Former prison chaplain Monsignor Raymond Murray said Mr Paterson's decision had echoes of the past for nationalists.

"This is a form of internment," said Monsignor Murray, who was prison chaplain in Armagh for almost 20 years.

"I am just shocked that the secretary of state wouldn't be aware of how seriously nationalist people look on internment.

"We thought it had all ended and here it is coming under a form of revocation, revoking a license.

"He would have to explain to us and explain the process of law as regards Marian Price.

"In any way has she broken the law? That would have to be provided but it is not provided by shoving her into prison on a pretence in an unjust way."

'Protection of the public'

However, the Northern Ireland Office said: "Following a recommendation from the independent parole commissioners, the secretary of state revoked Marian McGlinchey's licence on 15 May 2011.

"In accordance with the provisions of the Life Sentences (Northern Ireland) Order 2011, the secretary of state may revoke a licence where it is necessary for the protection of the public from serious harm and to prevent the commission of further offences.

"Those released on licence have an obligation to act within the terms of their release.

"Mrs McGlinchey has been charged with two offences under the Terrorism Act 2000, one of which is in connection with the Masserene murders.

"In these circumstances, and considering the need to protect the public, Mrs. McGlinchey's licence was revoked. An independent panel of parole commissioners is now considering her case.

"The secretary of state entirely refutes the allegation that this is internment without trial.

"Due process has been followed at all times: Mrs McGlinchey is aware of the case against her and has an opportunity to challenge it, and submit evidence on her behalf, during the course of the parole hearing."

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