JUSTICE Minister Helen McEntee has assured the family of murdered Limerick boxer Kevin Sheehy that his killer, who is set to be transferred back to a UK prison, will still serve out the life sentence imposed by the Irish courts.
Minister McEntee extended her deepest sympathies to the family of the five-time national boxing champion for their loss in such tragic circumstances in the Dáil this week.
She was responding to a question from Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins on the transfer of 31-year-old Coventry man Logan Jackson for the brutal murder of 20-year-old Sheehy on Hyde Road on July 1, 2019.
“I am very conscious of the deep trauma and distress experienced by the families of murder victims in Ireland and I am aware of the specific concerns raised by the family in recent weeks in respect of the management of this prisoners’ sentence,” Minister McEntee said.
“I understand how profoundly upsetting news such as this can be for the families of those who have lost loved ones in such difficult circumstances.
“While registration with the Victim Liaison Office (VLO) is voluntary, and the question of registration must remain the individual choice of the victims and their family, I want to ensure that all victims are aware of this service and of the need to register with it. I also want people to be fully aware of what kind of information the VLO can provide them with and also to be aware they can register with the Office at any point from the time of sentencing.”
“The Department of Justice is currently working on promoting the rights of victims of crime, including publicising their right to register with the VLO in the Irish Prison Service and to be kept informed of any significant sentence management decision taken.
“The Operations Directorate of the Prison Service administer the Transfer of Sentenced Persons function on behalf of the Department of Justice. The Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts, 1995 and 1997 provide a mechanism whereby non-nationals serving sentences in Ireland may apply to serve the remainder of their sentences in their own countries, where those countries are party to the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
“Similarly, Irish persons who are imprisoned overseas in such countries may apply to serve the remainder of their sentences in Ireland. The Convention is open to States outside Europe and the Government supports the Council of Europe policy of encouraging states to ratify and operate the Convention.”
The Minister assured Deputy Collins that where a person is transferred under the Convention it is normal practice that undertakings are given by the State the person is transferring to that they will continue to enforce the sentence imposed by the Irish courts.
“I believe that it is important to be clear that in general terms, applications are refused in circumstances where there may be a substantial reduction in sentences or due to divergent rates of remission.”
Minister McEntee has written directly to Kevin Sheehy’s family in relation to this case.