West Cavan Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has criticised the Prison Service for sending a Garda killer to serve his sentence in Loughan House Prison near Blacklion, reacting to the escape of the prisoner on March 15.
“Loughan House has always been used to hold people imprisoned for less serious offences and those coming to the end of longer sentences. It is unacceptable that a person convicted of killing anyone, but especially a member of an Garda Siochana would, in the very earliest part of their sentence be sent to a low security prison. Someone in the higher echelons of the Irish Prison Service has questions to answer in this regard. Anyone who is involved in the death of a Garda should spend a considerable period behind bars and in a higher security prison,” he told the Leitrim Observer.
Commenting on local reaction, Councillor Feeley stated that the community enjoys a very good relationship with Patrick Kavanagh, the Governor and all his staff and that Loughan House has traditionally played a very positive role in the community.
“There are many Prison Officers and their families living in the Cavan and Leitrim areas. We would of course like to see more of them living locally. The Staff are a positive part of our community. Indeed in recent months there has been a return to prisoners, as part of their normalisation programme, spending time working in the community.
“The news that Mr McDermott was sent to Loughan House is certainly a deviation from the norm. I would hope that prisoners of that type would not be sent to Loughan House in the future and that he is returned to a high security prison in the near future,” concluded Cllr Feeley.