Wednesday 17 January 2018

Son of slain Limerick gangster seeks release from prison

The Midlands Prison in Port Laoise, Co. Laois
The Midlands Prison in Port Laoise, Co. Laois

Aodhan O'Faolain & Ray Managh

A son of a slain Limerick gangster has launched a High Court action aimed at securing his release from prison.

The action has been brought Edward Ryan Jnr (aged 31) who is currently serving a six year prison sentence at the Midlands Prison.

Edward and his brother Kieran were jailed at Limerick Circuit Court in 2010 after pleading guilty to possession of a high-powered firearm and ammunition in the city. They are the sons of gangland figure Eddie Ryan Snr. (41), who was shot dead in the Moose Bar in Limerick city in November 2000.

The brothers made national headlines in 2003, when they were allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint. They turned up safe and well a week later, following a national manhunt by the Gardai and army.

In his High Court action against the State  Eddie Ryan claims that under the 2007 Prison rules he is entitled to be released with a third of his sentence left to serve. His lawyers claim that Eddie Ryan Jnr qualifies because he has been of good behaviour and has availed of all structured activities and courses available to him in the prison.

The court heard that he has undertaken a woodwork course in prison and  made items for a charity shop in the Midlands.

The Minister for Justice, in a decision communicated to Ryan last April, turned down the Limerick man's application to be released with one third remission, saying he did not qualify.

Ryan, represented by Colman Fitzgerald SC, says the Minister gave no reasons for his decision. He says he does not known why his application was refused and does not know what he has to do in order to qualify for a third off the prison sentence he received.  

Counsel said the Minister's decision, if applied on a wider basis, would have the effect of discouraging prisoners to avail of structured activities in prison. Counsel said had his client been granted one third remission he would have been released late last month.

Counsel prisoners who are of good behaviour are entitled to the normal one quarter remission. Under that scenario Eddie Ryan's release date is in November.

At the High Court today Mr Justice Max Barrett ordered an inquiry into the on-going detention of Eddie Ryan. who his lawyers say is being unlawfully held in breach of his (Article 40.4.2) constitutional rights. The matter was adjourned to a date in early July to allow the State time to respond to the claim.

The State has opposed the application. It has asked for an adjournment. Represented by Ms Ann Marie Lawlor Bl the state asked for time to respond to the action. Counsel said the State's position was Ryan was legally detained on foot of a six year sentence that was properly imposed.

In 2010 Eddie Ryan with an address College Avenue, Moyross, Limerick, was given a six-year sentence after pleading guilty to of a Browning semi-automatic pistol and 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition, He has no previous convictions.  The weapon and ammunition were seized when gardai stopped and searched a car following a surveillance operation.

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