General's brother swaps life of crime for artist's brush
FORMER Mountjoy Governor John Lonergan last night hailed art as a way to keep prisoners from slipping into crime as he launched a new exhibition with work by the brother of notorious gangster 'The General'.
Eddie Cahill -- brother of Martin 'The General' Cahill -- acquired his painting skills while in Portlaoise Prison, and has become a well-known artist, marketing his works across the country and overseas.
Eddie, a convicted kidnapper and drug smuggler, started painting in 1992 while serving an eight-year jail term for possession of IR£50,000 worth of heroin.
He was released in March 1997 and had his first solo exhibition a year later.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Lonergan said art had the capacity to turn around the lives of prisoners.
"During my lifetime I certainly saw many, many benefits to be accrued from the creative arts, be it music or drama or painting," he said.
Mr Cahill was taught to paint while in Portlaoise by artist Brian Maguire, the former head of painting at the National College of Art and Design. Mr Maguire offered his painting skills at various prisons.