23 December 2005

Border Fox is given parole

Belfast Telegraph

By Marie Foy
23 December 2005

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Click to view - Dessie O'Hare - photo from IRSM.org

Border Fox Dessie O'Hare, a former head of the INLA, is to be released from jail tomorrow for a week-long Christmas break.

O'Hare was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment in 1988 - one of the longest terms ever handed down in the Republic for an offence other than capital murder.

He was jailed after being found guilty of a string of charges including kidnapping and mutilating Dublin dentist John O'Grady the year before.

O'Hare, who was also the prime suspect in 27 murders, sprang to public notoriety when he and other members of an INLA gang kidnapped Mr O'Grady.

O'Hare used a chisel to cut off the tops of two of Mr O'Grady's fingers, which were sent to gardai with a ransom demand.

Gardai eventually rescued Mr O'Grady and O'Hare went on the run.

Three weeks later, after a shoot-out, he was arrested and imprisoned.

The terror chief, from Keady, Co Armagh, is among a group of high-security prisoners being let out of Portlaoise prison.

O'Hare is 17 years into his sentence, most of it at Portlaoise, but is expected to be released shortly under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

It is also thought that ex-Real IRA deputy leader Liam Campbell, who was jailed for eight years in 2004 for membership of an illegal organisation, may also be allowed out for the festive season.

The Christmas parole scheme is sanctioned by the Republic's Justice Minister Michael McDowell.

The Prison Service said that public safety was paramount in their reviewing of temporary release applications.

Ulster Unionist Newry and Mourne Assembly member Danny Kennedy said O'Hare's release would cause wide concern in the Protestant community.

"He shouldn't be allowed parole. It will give concern to a lot of my consitituents.

"He has a notorious record and there is no indication that he has ever expressed regret or any degree of remorse.

"There is no indication that he has moved on. I would question whether he is ready to be rehabilitated into the community."

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