by Democrat reporter
A CATHOLIC church prisoner support group has called on the Irish government to speed up the repatriation of a seriously ill 27-year old Irish prisoner serving a sentence in Yorkshire.
Co. Louth man Aidan Hulme was given a 20-year jail term in 2001 after being convicted of involvement in a series of Real IRA bombings in London.
The British Home Office has said it lodged all relevant documents with the Irish authorities last September.
Gerry McFlynn of the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas said:
"Aidan has to be sent back to Ireland as soon as possible. He is one of about 20 prisoners waiting to come home. The process takes between two-and-a- half to three years, which is unacceptable given the distress it causes to inmates and their families.
"You have to wonder if the will is there to move quickly on these issues. All we can do is try to keep as much preshsure on the authorities as possible. In this case, the hold-up is with the Irish, and we are pushing for a resolution given the state of his health," said Fr McFlynn.
Michael Holden of the Irish Political Status Committee said Mr Hulme's brother Robert, who is also serving a prison sentence in England, had asked to be transferred to Full Sutton.
"They were separated about 18 months ago and, since then, the prison authorities have made it difficult for them to correspond. Robert is happy to move from Long Martin back to Full Sutton to be with his brother.
"Aidan has been told by a specialist that his leg will have to be amputated. He doesn't want to be given priority treatment but the specialist is recommending that he be transferred back to Ireland before his leg is amputated."
The Irish Department of Justice said it would not comment on individual cases.
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