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Saturday 17 August 2019

Quirke given job working in prison kitchen

Murderer Patrick Quirke is said to have been a model inmate since being taken into custody last Wednesday at Mountjoy, but is expected to be moved to Midlands Prison. Picture: Collins
Murderer Patrick Quirke is said to have been a model inmate since being taken into custody last Wednesday at Mountjoy, but is expected to be moved to Midlands Prison. Picture: Collins

Ralph Riegel

Killer Patrick Quirke has been given a job working in the prison bakery and kitchen following his conviction for murder.

Quirke (50) is also expected to be transferred to the Midlands jail from Mountjoy in Dublin - rather than the Cork or Limerick prisons preferred by his family - once suitable space becomes available.

This means visits to him will involve a round trip just 20km longer for his family than if he was serving his sentence in the new Cork prison.

While Limerick Prison is closest to Quirke's home at just 45km, a transfer there is unlikely for suitability reasons.

Quirke, who was last week convicted of killing quarry worker and part-time DJ Bobby Ryan following the longest murder trial in Irish history, has been on suicide watch in Mountjoy for the past six days.

This is routine for newly admitted high-profile prisoners facing lengthy sentences and is not reflective of their potential state of mind.

He will also be kept out of the general inmate population until officials are satisfied he has adapted to prison life.

Quirke is currently housed on C1 landing in Mountjoy and has been assigned future work in the prison bakery and kitchen.

One prison source said Quirke had been a model inmate since he was taken into custody last Wednesday after his dramatic murder conviction by a Central Criminal Court jury.

The dairy farmer is also described as being quite relaxed, but visibly buoyed by a visit from his wife on Monday.

Quirke has been assigned prisoner number 107243.

The jury deliberated for almost 21 hours following the 15-week trial.

The body of the part-time DJ, who was known as 'Mr Moonlight', was found in a run-off pit on a Fawnagown farm leased by Quirke.

Quirke killed Mr Ryan, it was said, because he was jealous of his relationship with Mary Lowry, who had just ended an affair with Quirke.

Ms Lowry's late husband, Martin, was a brother of Quirke's wife, Imelda.

Quirke began helping run her dairy farm after her husband's death, but then developed a relationship with Ms Lowry. The widow ended the relationship, which she described as "seedy", and Quirke admitted he was quite hurt by her decision.

The prosecution claimed that Quirke was also pressuring the mother of three for cash and feared her new relationship with Mr Ryan could jeopardise his lease to the Lowry farm.

His family had hoped he would be transferred to Limerick or Cork prisons to make visiting him easier.

His wife, Imelda, visited him for the first time in Mountjoy on Monday. Dublin is two hours from their home.

The journey from their Breanshamore home outside Tipperary town to Cork is roughly one hour.

However, it is a comparable, albeit slightly longer, journey time to Portlaoise where the Midlands Prison is.

It is understood Irish Prison Service officials believe the Midlands Prison, which has a capacity for almost 520 inmates, is a more suitable facility for such high-profile inmates who are serving lengthy sentences.

Wheatfield Prison is also considered suitable, but Quirke will be assigned to a jail closer to his native Tipperary in light of family visitation reasons.

Among the high-profile inmates already serving sentences in the Midlands Prison are Cork-born murderer Graham Dwyer, Mayo baby killer John Tighe and paedophile journalist Tom Humphries.

Humphries, a former sports journalist, is expected to be released by August after his 30-month term has been served.

Irish Independent

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