West Cavan Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has expressed his
amazement at the revelation that Martin McDermott, the prisoner who
escaped from Loughan House just over two weeks ago had previously
escaped from the same institution in 2007.

‘The Report, prepared by the Irish Prison Service is unbelievable. The
fact that a person with 91 convictions, one of which involved a member
of the Garda Siochana acting in the course of his duty was sent to a
low security prison with less than half of his sentence served is
amazing. That that same person, escaped from that same prison in 2007
is disgraceful.’

Councillor Feeley lives a few miles from Loughan House, a low security
prison just outside the West Cavan village of Blacklion. It has a
capacity to hold approximately one hundred and sixty prisoners.

Minister Shatter has made very solemn statements about the ‘heneous
nature’ of Mr McDermott’s crime and about the Irish Prison Service
‘wrong’ decision. I would remind him that he is not an opposition
spokesperson now, he is the Minister responsible for the Criminal
Justice System. The Irish Prison Service is under his remit. He must
act decisively. He must set out a clear policy on the types of
prisoner who are sent to Loughan House and other prisons and the terms
that they will be kept under. Clearly a person who has got the chance
to avail of the ‘open-prison’ regime and flouts it should never get

Concluding, Councillor Feeley stated that as a local resident and as a
public representative he believed that people living near open prisons
deserve the assurance that those sent there are of carefully

‘Whilst Minister Shatter was travelling around Australia, a Garda
killer was at large, that is a serious matter. If the Minister cannot
deal with the repercussion of this situation he is not capable of
holding office.’