MINISTER ADMITS IT WAS WRONG TO TRANSFER GARDA KILLER TO OPEN PRISON

March 29, 2012

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said it was impossible not to think that the transfer of Garda killer Martin McDermott to an open prison was wrong, a prison he had escaped from before.  

And he said “all necessary steps” will be taken to ensure that mistakes such as the escape of the convicted Raphoe man two weeks ago do not happen again.

The Minister was responding to a report by the Irish Prison Service last night on the circumstances surrounding the transfer to, and escape from, Loughan House of prisoner McDermott.

McDermott, 26, escaped from the Co Cavan prison on March 15th. He was arrested the next day at a friend’s house in Derry.

He had been convicted of killing Garda Gary McLoughlin after striking the patrol car in which he was sitting in a speeding vehicle in December 2009. Sentenced in July 2011, he was jailed for eight years for the manslaughter of Garda McLoughlin.

McDermott has escaped from the same prison in 2007, returning six days later. This was before he killed Gda McLoughlin.

Last night, Mr Shatter said having considered the report, “it was impossible to avoid the conclusion” that the transfer of McDermott to the open prison was wrong.

He said “sufficient consideration was not given to the gravity of the heinous offence” committed as well as to other criteria, and he had been assured by the director general of the Irish Prison Service that steps were being taken to prevent such a recurrence.

It’s not known yet whether or not Mr Shatter has personally apologised to the family of Gda McLoughlin.

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