Fury as killers let out of jail for day hike up Croagh Patrick
Members of the public oblivious to the fact that they were scaling the mountain alongside some of Ireland's most violent criminals
A victims' rights group has hit out at the State for not taking crime seriously after it emerged that a group of convicted killers on day release enjoyed a hike up Croagh Patrick.
A total of 12 inmates from Loughan House, including four killers and six drug dealers, scaled the 764m peak.
They passed by members of the public during their trek, people oblivious to the fact that they were scaling the mountain alongside some of Ireland's most violent criminals.
John Whelan, a spokesman for Save (Sentencing and Victim Equality), said: "It highlights that the whole regime needs to be looked at.
"We need a proper change in sentencing and parole laws.
"When you hear in the news that somebody is jailed for life, nothing could be further from the truth."
Among the hikers were Dubliner Richard Kearney, who battered 72-year-old Mary Dillon to death with a rake, and Mick Connors, from Ferdia Park, Ardee, who beat his twin sister's boyfriend to death with a hammer.
Also on day release climbing the peak was James Keane, who blasted a close friend to death with a sawn-off shotgun following a five-day bender.
Paul Sheehan, who kicked and stamped on a man's head during a fatal attack, was also with the walking group.
Photographs, taken by the Sunday World, show the convicted killers in good spirits as they made their way up the famous mountain. All of the men are nearing the end of their prison sentences and arrvived by mini-bus for their jaunt shortly after 10am on Wednesday.
The group broke into threes and fours as the climb took a physical toll.
Croagh Patrick - nicknamed the Reek - is one of Ireland's most famous tourist attractions and, according to legend, St Patrick fasted on the site for 40 days in 441AD.
Killer Kearney was just 17 years old when he broke into the home of Mary Dillon and carried out his sickening murder.
The young thug concocted a web of lies to try to throw gardai off the scent and tried to blame another man for the 1998 killing.
However, he later received a sentence of life in prison.