Mowlam petitioned in deportation case


A Belfast man who fled to New Zealand to escape a death threat from the Irish People's Liberation Organisation (IPLO) has sought the assistance of Northern Secretary Dr Mo Mowlam to prevent him being deported back to Northern Ireland.

The New Zealand authorities are seeking to deport Danny Gallagher, originally from west Belfast, because he is an illegal immigrant and because he has a criminal record.

In 1991 Gallagher (46) was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for having bullets in his possession. At the time of his arrest in 1990 he claimed that the RUC tried to recruit him as an informer, but that he refused the offer.

After his arrest the IPLO threatened Gallagher, warning him he had 24 hours to leave Northern Ireland. Subsequently he fled to New Zealand with his family. In his absence the prison sentence was imposed. Amnesty International and the former SDLP MP for West Belfast, Dr Joe Hendron, have made representations on his behalf.

The case has received considerable media attention in New Zealand. Now the Northern Secretary has stated she will consider applying the royal prerogative to pardon his original sentence and have it expunged from his record. His supporters argue that such a move might help his case which has been fought to the highest courts in New Zealand.