Republicans in Derry gathered outside the Strand Road PSNI Station on Tuesday night to protest the High Court decision not to release Creggan man Neil Hegarty, who was returned to jail before Christmas 36 hours after being paroled.

Mr Hegarty's licence was revoked in December after he was accused of refusing to comply with tagging conditions.

He had been serving a ten year sentence and had been released after five. He was returned to Maghaberry Prison 36 hours after his release when it was alleged he refused entry to G4S staff who wanted to fit him with a tag.

His return to jail was then challenged by Madden & Finucane Solicitors.

But on Tuesday, Justice McCloskey, despite expressing concerns about the police dossier into the incident, said that the 'threshold for judicial intervention had not been overcome'.

The Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association has described the decision as "devastating", and Mr Hegarty remains in jail.

Patrick Gallagher of the independent republican group Saoradh, based in Junior McDaid House in Derry, said Mr Hegarty's argument had been 'shockingly dismissed'.

He said: "Neil will now appeal and fight on. We in Saoradh and IRPWA Doire based at Junior McDaid House will stand shoulder to shoulder with Neil and his family.

"Contrary to some media reports Neil did not refuse his licence or any aspect of his release. He quite rightly, and this was proved in full transparency, merely questioned his release conditions as heĀ  knew he would fight these draconian measures in court.

"We call for an end to British Internment. We call for the immediate release of Neil Hegarty."

Giving his ruling, Justice McCloskey said: "The recall determination of the official concerned plainly lay within the range of reasonable decisions available to him."

But he also identified issues in the police report.

"The gloss in this report relating to 'willful disengagement' and 'affirmation' was opaque, unparticularised, and, having regard to the totality of the evidence, misleading," he said.

Ciaran Shiels of Madden and Finucane Solicitors has now said they will lodge an appeal against the ruling.

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