A leading member of the AOH has blasted calls from Northern Ireland to jail former IRA man and Maze escapee Pol Brennan.
Brennan is due to be deported back to Ireland today, barring any last-minute appeals.
Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP has called for Brennan to be jailed on his return. He said that Brennan's 1995 conviction for buying a targeting pistol using an alias, demonstrates that he “may represent a public risk were he to return to Northern Ireland or even the Republic of Ireland.”
But former AOH president Ned McGinley has slammed Donaldson's comments saying they are at complete odds with the Good Friday Agreement.
“In no way should he be extradited for crimes related to the 1970s,” said McGinley.
McGinley pointed out that that the British Government has already dropped extradition proceedings against Brennan and that all remaining paramilitary prisoners had been released from the Maze under the Good Friday Agreement.
“So, if he had been in Northern Ireland at that time they would have released him,” he said.
Brennan's current problems in the U.S. go back to 1993 when the FBI found him living under a false name in California. He had escaped from the Maze in 1983 with 37 other IRA prisoners.
In 2000, Britain dropped its extradition efforts and American authorities allowed him to stay in San Francisco while they decided what to do with him.
Unfortunately for Brennan, that arrangement came to an abrupt end when he was stopped at a routine checkpoint in Texas in 2008.
Immigration officers detained him when they discovered that his U.S. work permit had expired.
A pending renewal had not been granted at the time of his detention.
A Texas judge then ruled in November that he should be deported. Brennan's lawyers lost an appeal in April and they failed to get Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano to intervene.
The legal battle is still continuing today but, barring any last-minute change of heart by the U.S. authorities, it seems likely that Brennan will be put on a plane back to Ireland.
The Irish pub that became home base for 9/11 ground zero rescuers