Friday 6 December 2019

Innocent publican's book describes hell of Mountjoy

Dara Folan

Framed Donegal publican Frank Shortt has described the trauma of his three years in Mountjoy, saying: "I could not imagine hell being worse than this."

The victim of a garda corruption scandal, Mr Shortt was framed with wrongful allegations that he permitted the sale of drugs in his nightclub at The Point Inn at Quigley's Point in Donegal.

Now in a newly published book he reveals the horror of life inside Ireland's biggest prison. "For three years I witnessed the sale, supply and possession of drugs taking place freely in Mountjoy Prison every day, all day."

In one harrowing excerpt, he describes the brutal rape of a fellow inmate, an incident which he was powerless to stop.

"I was in my cell when I heard terrible screaming coming from the next cell. Two prisoners had burst in on this young fellow. One of those prisoners was on remand for a sexual offence.

"I tried to intervene but I couldn't -- I couldn't get the door open."

The former publican, who was awarded €4.5m in damages against the State after his drugs conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2007, has now detailed the nightmarish circumstances of his wrongful incarceration in Abuse of Power.

Specifically targeted by members of the gardai later identified in the long-running Morris Tribunal, he details shocking instances of garda malpractice, including the carnage resulting from a 200-strong team of gardai swarming through the pub armed with sledgehammers, indiscriminately apprehending, beating and searching customers and staff.

Although he was released in 1997, it was not until 2006 that Mr Shortt was absolved of the crimes levelled against him.

His book details what he calls the "truly shocking process of intimidation, exploitation and corruption" orchestrated against him.

The scandal was later described by Mr Justice John Murray as "a tormenting saga of imprisonment, mental and physical deterioration, estrangement from family, loss of business, public and professional ignominy and despair".

'Abuse of Power' will be launched in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Letterkenny, at 6pm on June 8, 2012.

Sunday Independent

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