I have been in Mountjoy for over a decade now. I was in my late teens when I committed the crime. It's not that I thought I was untouchable... that world was just life for me back then.
My mother reared me. My father left when I was three or four, and, looking back, I would say that had a big impact.
I was great in primary school. I had a good upbringing. My mother looked after me pretty well. But in secondary school, things started going downhill. I started acting out. I don't know why - I really don't know why. I was getting suspended from school. And then I was suspended for a few months before my Junior Cert and it meant I was losing out on a lot of school time.
One of the turning points came when I was 14 - I failed my Junior Cert. That had a big impact. I remember my mother and auntie coming with me to get my results and they promised they wouldn't tell anyone that I had failed. I felt like a failure. I was embarrassed about it. I was the first in my family who it had happened to and I didn't want anyone to know.
I remember going out on my Junior Cert night and that was the first time I took drugs. I was with an older friend of mine and I took ecstasy. I started hanging around with lads a couple of years older than me and that's how things progressed.
At this point of my teens, I had a job. I worked as a mechanic for years. An older relative taught me how to fix cars in his back garden and I could do absolutely everything with them. He told me I was a great asset to him. He always says to me, still to this day: 'What the f**k did you do with yourself?' I looked at him as a father figure. I still do. But through all my time working for him I was still taking drugs, I was going down the wrong road, I was robbing cars, I was doing anything to make money. I was building up towards that big thing that every lad I knew wanted as a young fella.
I was seeing all this around me, the glamour of crime, the lads driving fancy cars and they had lovely girlfriends. Seeing all that, I wanted a nice car for myself and I wanted the good-looking girl, too. And I had it all. I got there. I was selling drugs for the lads I had gotten in with. I was still working on cars, but, back then, I just felt I had my own money, I didn't need that [mechanic work] anymore. So we had a falling out for a few years. That's when I started hanging around with people who were involved in a gangland feud.
I started selling drugs for them and I was taking drugs more and more. I wasn't working a straight job any more. I was drinking and partying five or six days and nights a week. It takes its toll. Then I fell into debt. And that's when it was basically put to me that I had to do it [kill a rival of the gang].
It was either my life or - unfortunately - his. It was just put on me - bang - like that. ''Right, you owe this. This is your way out of it.'' Just like that. Over a phone call.
The moment they said it to me I felt pure and utter sickness that I had to go and do it. That was it, in my head; there was no turning back.
I knew how dangerous these people were. I had seen things they had done to people in front of me. The designer clothes, the money, did it matter? No. Sure look where I am now.
I can remember everything about the night itself. I can remember going to pick up the car, where I went to collect the gun... and I remember straight after it. The panic. Because I had never done anything like that.
We couldn't burn the car out because the police came on top of us so quickly. It was pure panic.
I remember sitting in a house afterwards and looking at the news and saying to myself: 'I have been involved in this.' It wasn't a nice thing. I still watch programmes these days and get flashbacks. I remember looking at the victim. And I can remember the bangs. I was actually looking at the victim. But I can't remember his face now. They say that's a way of dealing with it, that I don't want to remember it. I don't want to see him.
Afterwards, I had to tell someone. One day you are selling drugs, the next day you are involved in the murder of someone. I had to say it to someone.
The lowest point on the outside came when I was taken for questioning a couple of weeks later. They had all the evidence. I thought, OK this is real now. I went down. I got life. And now I am serving out the sentence.
The State owns me. When I get out of prison… I don't know... it all depends how well I serve my time here. At the start of my sentence, I would have been a very bad prisoner. I was still involved in the feud. All my best mates came in as well. But they were only doing four and five years. It wasn't until their release that I realised I am the one doing life.
They remember you for a few months. They send you up clothes. They send money to your mother. Then all that stops. And that's when it clicks.
I have to think about myself now and getting my life back on track. I have a child. I have had to look at them grow up from in here. I am trying to turn a negative into a positive but it hasn't been easy. As I said, all your friends, they forget about you. They are all involved in bigger things now. A lot bigger things. I don't need to explain - I'm sure you know what I am talking about.
I nearly got sucked into that in here a few years ago. I was pulled away from everything. And I was so close to getting sucked in again. Eventually, I think people just realised that I was doing well, I was doing my own thing, and to leave me get on with my sentence.
I guess there is a special moral code inside here among inmates, especially for lifers. Not as much now. But back in the day there was a lot of respect for lifers because of the sentence we were doing. Not just because we are murderers but because we are doing a long sentence. We are here for a long, long time. But now it's changed because of the dynamics of the prison. You have a younger generation now. You have a lot of young people in here. When I first came, they were all around 21. Now they are 18.
Inside of prison I don't think the gang culture has changed. It's just all about drugs and money. I have known people who have gotten cut up for €100 in here. Their face has been left scarred for life. It is quite a frightening thing to watch when it happens in front of you. You can see the whole lot of their teeth, from the side of their face hanging open.
The thing about prison is that you grow a sixth sense. It's the most stressful environment you will ever be in. I don't care when I get out. This will be the most stressful environment I have, or will ever be in, in my entire life. But it's normal to me now.
When I am in my cell it is OK, it's quiet, but up here [in the circle of Mountjoy] this is where it all happens. When the doors open in the morning it is like a beehive. So when I come through here I am always on high alert. You have to constantly be on your guard. I have become accustomed to it. I pick up on the slightest thing. If there is something going to kick off - like what happened there a few minutes ago [when an inmate was restrained by three officers] - you can sense it on these landings. You know by people's behaviour who is acting weird. Something is going on.
It's hard to explain. I don't go to the yard that much but when I walked it for years you could sense the eeriness and the quietness and you instantly knew - ''something is going down".
Everyone knows it. Everyone is looking around. Then, out of nowhere. Bang! It just happens. It's mad how you just adapt to it though. It's crazy. It is normalised to me now.
In prison, my rock bottom came when I was woken up at half six in the morning and a friend of mine had hung himself in the cell next door. That was the hardest day. I grew up with him.
If a new prisoner was coming in, what advice would I give to him? Well, it would be hard to talk to them because they don't listen any more. They are getting into it so young now. But I would say to him: ''Do your own thing, go to the gym, have a routine and get an education.'' That is fundamental to me now. Education.
I would also tell him to just try his best to stay out of trouble. But it's too hard. If I was to come in here tomorrow and start my sentence I would know 20 or 30 people. Not just from prison but from the outside. So it is hard not to get involved. Especially when there is conflict between certain areas. It brushes off on everyone.
To survive prison you need to be able to stand up for yourself and you need to have respect. If you have respect, you're laughing.
Now I am in my fifth year of a degree but I get frustrated when people ask what my ultimate goal is, if and when I eventually do get out. I can't answer that because I have a criminal conviction. Sometimes, on my more difficult days, I just think ''is this a waste?'' But it's not. One of my main reasons for doing it is to show my child that if I can complete third-level education in here, then they can go on to do it, too.
Looking back on it now, I don't think what happened to me was inevitable. It wasn't inevitable that I ended up here. I worked as a mechanic. There was another way. But I suppose it's just the area you grow up in isn't it? It's the demographics. I think the world is uneven.
A lot more needs to be done to tackle the gangland scene. You need to get the fellas when they are young. I am in the middle of putting [a programme] together for when I get out and I hope to work with kids, but the whole plan is to get them when they are young. There is no point grabbing fellas when they are getting their first charge. You need to get them when they are 12 and younger.
I took my first ecstasy when I was 14 and, from what I am hearing, there are kids taking tablets these days in primary school. I battled with drugs in here for a while myself. I was used to mostly just taking weed and cocaine outside but in here it's a different ball game. If you are having a bad day, it's just so easy to get drugs. The officers try their best but there is always someone thinking of ways to get them in.
My mother is a gem. She is here like clockwork every Saturday with my kid. I could never fault my mother. She always says it's her fault but it's not. It's my own fault. I took the path.
I had a good job. I was earning a nice wage. I was the one who made the decision. Not her. And it's not just my mother [who has suffered]. It is my victim's family. It's his kids. It's his wife. It has had a ripple effect. It is not just about me and my family. It's the victim's family, too.
From my side, I will live forever with what I have done. The slightest thing will bring me straight back to it. So it is going to be with me for the rest of my life. Which is only right. I played a part in taking someone's life.
I am hopeful about my future and I have finally turned things around but I know if I was on the outside all this time I would be dead - 100pc. There's no doubt, I would be dead.
Some details have been withheld