A former IRA-member who had lived in the US for nearly 25 years after escaping from the Maze prison is being deported back to Ireland.

Pol Brennan is scheduled to fly to Ireland today after being held in immigration detention since he was stopped at a checkpoint in South Texas in January 2008.

The Department of Homeland Security recently rejected the 57-year-old's final appeal, setting the stage for his deportation.

Earlier this week, Brennan sounded resigned to return to Ireland.

‘I'll just be glad to get out of here,’ he said in a call from the Port Isabel Service Processing Center, where he spent most of his detention. ‘It's really just an awful bloody place to be.’

Brennan said he would stay with family at first but was unsure what else he would do.

A US immigration judge ordered Brennan deported in late November. Brennan is from west Belfast and holds an Irish passport.

He testified at a hearing in November in the Willacy County Detention Center that he transported what he believed were explosives between drop-off points in Belfast for the IRA on about six occasions.

It was on one of those runs in 1976 that he was arrested and sentenced to 16 years in The Maze prison, from which he escaped with 37 others in 1983.

The FBI arrested Brennan in Berkeley, California, in 1993 after he applied for a passport using an alias.

That touched off a seven-year fight against extradition, during which Brennan spent about four years in jail.

The UK dropped its extradition demand in 2000 and Brennan was allowed to stay in the US, albeit with a murky immigration status. He worked as a carpenter in northern California's San Francisco Bay area.

In January 2008, Brennan and his wife Joanna Volz were on their way from South Padre Island to Austin to see friends when they stopped at the inland Border Patrol checkpoint in Sarita.

Brennan told the agents he was not a US citizen. When they saw his work permit had expired - he had applied for but not received an annual renewal - they ran his name in the computer and saw his unusual history.

Brennan also was convicted of making a fraudulent passport application and using an alias when buying a pistol during his early days in California.

In 2004, Brennan pleaded guilty to misdemeanour battery after a fight with a contractor.