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Manhunt as gang thug walks out of open prison


 Loughan House in Co Cavan, inset, John Paul Durcan

Loughan House in Co Cavan, inset, John Paul Durcan

John Paul Duncan

John Paul Duncan


Loughan House in Co Cavan, inset, John Paul Durcan

A manhunt is underway for a major gangland figure who escaped from an open prison.

Tallaght hood John Paul Duncan (30) simply walked out of Loughan House in Co Cavan at around 3pm yesterday, just two days after he was moved to the facility from Castlerea Prison.

The drug dealer, who was sentenced to eight years in May 2010, has two more years left on his sentence.

Before Duncan was locked up, some of his closest associates were suspected of carrying out a reign of gang terror in the Tallaght area which included the unsolved murder of Paul Byrne, whose body was discovered in July 2010, near Blessington.

Duncan was himself involved in a number of serious feud-related incidents including a gang attack in which a man was pulled from his car and brutally beaten.

At Duncan's sentencing hearing in Dublin Circuit Court in 2010, evidence was given that he had his ankles and knees sledge-hammered by people unhappy over the loss of the drugs seized by gardai at the Swiftwood Apartments, Saggart on November 26, 2007.

The court heard that gardai uncovered cannabis resin, cannabis and ecstasy with a combined valued of €2.8m after searching two vans parked outside the apartment complex in Saggart.


Duncan previously staged an escape from Tallaght courthouse as he was being led into a garda van in February 2010.

His escape is the second high-profile crime figure to abscond in less than two months.

Lee McDonnell (23) from Ballyfermot was recaptured less than a fortnight ago in Ronanstown, west Dublin. He had escaped when prison staff bringing him from hospital on December 17 stopped to buy him chips in Inchicore.

McDonnell has been on a punishment regime since he was caught and the same fate awaits Duncan if he is found.