Brendan Lillis case raised with Irish government

Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness has raised the case of the prisoner Brendan Lillis with the Irish Government.

Mr McGuinness, who is Stormont's Deputy First Minister, says Brendan Lillis is seriously ill and should be released from Maghaberry jail's hospital immediately.

A protest was held in Strabane yesterday for Mr Lillis.

A number of people pitched tents at the Tinneys and went on hunger strike for 12 hours, Mr Lillis' wife Roisin also spoke at the event.

Brendan Lillis, a former Republican, was sentenced to life in 1977 on explosives charges but was released on licence in 1993.

It was revoked in 2009 after he was re-arrested on robbery charges, but he's deemed too ill to stand trial.

He suffers from a rare form of arthritis that affects the spine.

He's in the hospital at Maghaberry prison but has been refused parole, despite pleas from his family, and Sinn Fein and SDLP politicians to the Justice Minister, David Ford.

Martin McGuinness says he's asked the Irish government to use what influence it can to get Brendan Lillis freed immediately on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.

And, he says, Britain's use of prison licensing and revoking of licences amounts to internment without trial.