High ranking gardaí have called for a full public inquiry into the escape from an open prison of Donegal man, Martin McDermott who was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the manslaughter of Garda Gary McLaughlin.
Addressing Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, at the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors this week, the organisation’s President, Padraic Dolan, claimed the case raised serious questions about the administration of justice in the country and questioned how a criminal with 91 previous convictions, who had previously absconded from Loughan House prison, was able to abscond again after having been involved in the death of a Garda.
“How was it possible for a criminal convicted of killing a garda by drunkenly crashing into a garda vehicle to be sent to an open prison?,” the AGSI President demanded.
Raphoe man McDermott was transferred to Loughan House in Cavan after serving seven months of his sentence. Following his escape last month, he was subsequently recaptured by the PSNI in Derry.
The findings of an investigation by the Irish Prison Service have been published by the Department of Justice with the Minister acknowledging that mistakes had been made.
But insisted Mr. Dolan at the conference on Monday: “We want a full public inquiry, there are still questions to be answered.”
Reacting to the call, Minister Shatter said an investigation had been carried out and completed and he had directed that all the necessary steps were being taken to ensure that a similar mistake never happened again.
New processes had been put in place including an extra layer of consideration by prison officials when a person convicted of homicide was being considered for a transfer to an open prison.
“We’ve fully addressed the issue and I hope it would be appreciated we’ve addressed it in such a way that a similar error never occurs in the future,” the Minister told delegates.