National Archives files reveal concern over detention of pregnant daughter of Northern Ireland civil rights leader

The detention of the pregnant daughter of the Northern Ireland civil rights leader Bernadette Devlin McAliskey threatened to degenerate into a “PR disaster”, John Major was warned, according to files released to the National Archives.

The decision to hold Róisín McAliskey in Holloway prison while awaiting extradition to Germany – on suspicion of participating in a 1996 IRA mortar attack on a British army base in Osnabrück – caused acute anxiety in Whitehall at a sensitive moment in the peace process.

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