Donaldson urges jail for Maze escapee


DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has called on the Northern Secretary Shaun Woodward to initiate action to jail Maze escapee Pol Brennan if he is deported from the United States.

If he is returned to the Republic Mr Donaldson said he will urge the Department of Justice to take action against Mr Brennan.

Mr Brennan was told last week that he would be sent back to Ireland by the end of this week after the reported failure of his attempt to be granted a last-minute deportation waiver by US homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano.

Mr Brennan (56), a native of Belfast, is being held at the Port Isabel immigration detention centre in Los Fresnos, Texas. He has been in custody since January 2008, when he was detained at a Texas immigration checkpoint over a lapsed US work permit.

In November a Texas judge ordered his deportation partly because he admitted he had occasionally moved explosives for the IRA in the mid-1970s. Since then he has lost two attempts to overturn that decision. Mr Brennan escaped with 37 other republican prisoners from the Maze in 1983, illegally entering the US a year later.

Former Stormont junior minister Mr Donaldson said yesterday that in 1976 Mr Brennan was sentenced to 16 years in prison on terrorist offences and that he should complete that sentence regardless of the early release scheme of the Belfast Agreement. He also referred to how he has a 1995 conviction in the US for purchasing a targeting pistol using an alias.

“I am now publicly calling on the Secretary of State to set procedures in place for Brennan to be returned to jail,” he said.

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister said if Mr Brennan were extradited to the Republic, the British government must proceed with a European arrest warrant against him to have him extradited to Northern Ireland.