Call for minister to resign over letter to help killer
THE family of a businessman shot dead by a hired hitman has called for the resignation of a government minister who asked prison authorities to consider special treatment for the killer.
Relatives of murder victim Mario Commatteo said they were "sickened" by the intervention of junior minister for mental health John Moloney on behalf of contract killer Raymond Ryan.
"He should resign. To be frank, I'm surprised he hasn't gone already," Mr Commatteo's brother John said last night.
Ryan (44), from Portlaoise, Co Laois, was paid €12,000 by Mr Commatteo's wife to have him killed at their home near London in 2000.
After being jailed for life in the UK, Ryan was transferred to Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon to serve out his sentence.
The Irish Independent revealed earlier this week how Mr Moloney wrote to prison bosses on Ryan's behalf helping him seek a transfer to another prison so he could avail of better training facilities.
The request was subsequently turned down by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern.
Mr Commatteo's family reacted with horror to the reve-lations. "At the very least the minister should consider his position," said John Commatteo, a bus driver living in Surrey.
"The victim and their family always seem to come out second best. You get do-gooders coming along and thinking they know what's best, but he didn't have the common decency to contact our family for our opinion before he wrote his letter."
He said his brother's death was "a heinous crime, done purely for greed" and that he was not in favour of "any special treatment" for Ryan.
Mr Moloney has defended his actions, saying he was simply trying to help the prisoner get access to better training facilities and was not in any way seeking to interfere with his sentence. The junior minister said he was first approached on the matter by Ryan's elderly father, who is a constituent.