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A PRISONER who was jailed for four years after admitting he ran a pipe bomb factory for the Continuity IRA, has refused an offer for temporary release from Portlaoise Prison where he claims he is being held illegally.

A PRISONER who was jailed for four years after admitting he ran a pipe bomb factory for the Continuity IRA, has refused an offer for temporary release from Portlaoise Prison where he claims he is being held illegally.

John Aylmer SC yesterday told the High Court his client Joseph Kirwan "ticked all the boxes" for entitlement to a one third remission of his sentence and was in unlawful custody since June last.

Mr Aylmer, who appeared with Karl Monahan for Kirwan, said he had been sentenced last December to six years imprisonment with four years suspended. His sentence had been backdated to February 2013,

He told Mr Justice David Keane that Mr Kirwan was entitled to a one-third enhanced remission instead of the usual quarter remission and wanted an Article 40 inquiry into his unlawful detention.

Mr Aylmer said Mr Kirwan, with an address at Closelands, Ballybrittas, Co Laois, refused the Minister for Justice's offer for a full temporary release because he was seeking "unconditional liberty." He was anxious to go back to his normal social activities and would not be able to do so under the terms of the temporary release.

The court heard the temporary release would hinder Kirwan's liberty as he would have to maintain "a sober habit" and would not be allowed to travel. Kirwan had been looking forward to avail of his full liberty and had wanted to visit family abroad.

Barrister Diarmaid McGuinness SC told the court that the State was looking for more time in relation to the alleged unlawful custody in order to file affidavits. Mr Kirwan had chosen to remain in full custody.

He said the Minister for Justice had not been given enough time to consider Mr Kirwan's application for an enhanced remission before he had applied to the High Court on Friday last for unconditional release.

The court heard Kirwan had applied on August 1 last to the Minister for a one third remission of his sentence. His application had been misdirected and had been received four days later.

Mr McGuinness said Mr Kirwan had applied to the High Court for his release without waiting for the Minister's decision which was to offer him temporary release.

Kirwan's application was before the court following several adjournments and Judge Keane adjourned it again until today and ordered that Kirwan be brought to court for the 2 p.m. hearing.


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