Monday 11 December 2017

Report on man's death slams prison practices

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

A PRISON had no tracking system for criminals on temporary release when a man died following an assault by a prisoner who was "unlawfully at large".

Before the death of Noel Keegan, Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon did not keep tabs on convicts who had been let out of jail temporarily.

The family of 59-year-old Mr Keegan is now suing the State after the father of five died following an assault by Martin McDonagh.

McDonagh (24), of Mostrim Oaks, Ballymahon Road, Edgeworthstown, Co Longford, was sentenced to five years in jail on Tuesday for assaulting Mr Keegan and his wife Marie in Longford on December 31, 2009.

He was supposed to have been behind bars in Castlerea Prison, serving a two-year sentence for striking a man with a bottle. He had also been handed a further four-year jail term for stabbing a man in the leg with a pitchfork.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern commissioned a report into the incident.

Judge Michael Reilly's damning report pointed out that McDonagh did not sign on at Castlerea Prison -- as he was obliged to do under the terms of his temporary release.

He also found that more than 25 gardai in Longford Garda Station "knew, or should have known, that Martin McDonagh was unlawfully at large".

The Irish Prison Service said: "We'll be implementing the recommendations in full," before adding that most of these measures were already in force.

Irish Independent

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