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Dozen killers including hitman Brian Meehan have early release from jail blocked
Veronica Guerin’s killer has so far done ‘18 months time in the open prison and probably thought he would be released by now’
Today at 10:31
A dozen killers including Veronica Guerin hitman Brian Meehan have had their early release from jail stopped.
They are all being forced to serve longer sentences at Shelton Abbey open prison in Co Wicklow while the new Independent Parole Board deals with their cases and also objections to some of their proposed releases from the families of the victims.
Normally when a prisoner is sent to Shelton they are allowed back on the streets under licence and subject to certain conditions, after a year or two.
Now they are being forced to stay for a much longer period – two to four years – while the Parole Board deals with each case.
It is understood that the cases of over 100 prisoners eligible for early release are waiting to be dealt with by the Board.
But they are currently dealing with around 12 cases a month due to the right of crime victims to submit a written objection so each case has to be looked at individually and it is taking a greater amount of time.
A prison source said; ” There are currently about 12 men who are all serving life sentences waiting to be freed from Shelton Abbey.
” Veronica’s killer Brian Meehan is among them. He has so far done 18 months time in the open prison and probably thought he would be released by now.
” It will now probably be at least another two years before he gets out because it will take the Parole Board that long to deal with his case after the Guerin family objected.
” The victims of every serious like murder or rape has a right to object to the culprit being freed early. It is also taking time for the new Independent Parole Board to deal with each case.”
A life sentence with a 25pc remission for good behaviour is now around 18 to 19 years in Ireland.
Meehan has served 23 years in custody after being convicted of murder in 1999. He is still a relatively young man at 56 year of age.
The prison source added ; “These lifers are just going to have to wait and do more time in the open prison until the backlog of cases is cleared by the Parole Board.
” Families also don’t want to see their loved ones’ killers back on the street, to them life should mean life. They find it hard to comprehend why any killer should be freed early.”
Meehan drove the motorbike that carried the assassin who shot the fearless Sunday Independent reporter.
The gunman was believed to have been notorious Dublin criminal the late Patrick “Dutchy” Holland but Meehan has never spilled the beans and kept his mouth shut.