Justice Minister Alan Shatter said today that he regrets that the Gillespie family were not told sooner that double killer John Gallagher was back in custody.
Gallagher shot and killed mother and daughter Anne and Annie Gillespie in the grounds of Sligo General Hospital in 1988. He was tried for their murder but was found to be insane.
He absconded from the Central Mental Hospital in 2000 and handed himself back in on May 14 of this year, after 12 years on the run.
However, the Gillespie family were not informed until Tuesday night.
Minister Shatter said that he expects Gallagher will apply to have his case reviewed by an independent board at the hospital and has admitted he could be released within weeks or months.
He said that he will do all he can to ensure the Gillespie family are informed.
"I regret they weren't informed earlier," he said.
"They were informed by the gardaí on Tuesday evening.
"As I say, we're doing what we can to ensure that they have available to them the maximum information possible."