Sunday 4 December 2016

Heaven forbid we should hurt the feelings of convicted killers

What kind of society affords more respect to violent criminals than victims, asks Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 14/11/2010 | 05:00

GRIEF: Mourners carry the coffin of Brian Casey, from Co Clare, who died after an assault in Ennis on St Stephen's Day last year. Photo: Eamon Ward
GRIEF: Mourners carry the coffin of Brian Casey, from Co Clare, who died after an assault in Ennis on St Stephen's Day last year. Photo: Eamon Ward

Be careful what you say about convicted killers. Last week Wayne O'Donoghue settled a long-running libel dispute with TV3, prompted when his character was apparently defamed by a certain news report stating that he had caused the death by asphyxiation due to strangulation of an 11-year-old boy. No, wait, that part was true.

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O'Donoghue did indeed do that to Robert Holohan in Midleton, Co Cork, in January 2005, before dumping the boy's body at Inch Strand. It was a separate detail of the case over which TV3 was forced to back down.

Either way, caution is the order of the day. Heaven forfend that anyone's feelings should be hurt, even if they are killers. You may even think, for example, that Co Clare uncle and nephew Harry and Kevin Dinan got off far too lightly for a "cowardly and unprovoked attack" last Stephen's Night which caused the death of 26- year-old teacher Brian Casey -- an incident for which they were jailed at Ennis Circuit Court last week for, respectively, five and four years -- but if that does happen to be your opinion, then keep it to yourself.

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