IRA killer has early release licence revoked

An IRA killer freed from prison in the North under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement tonight had his early release licence revoked by the Britsh government after being found guilty of attempted murder in the Republic of Ireland.

An IRA killer freed from prison in the North under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement tonight had his early release licence revoked by the Britsh government after being found guilty of attempted murder in the Republic of Ireland.

Robert Duffy from Belfast was freed in July 2000 just four years in to his life sentence as part of the peace process.

Earlier this month he was jailed in Dublin’s Central Criminal Court for the attempted murder last year of a man in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward said he had given fresh consideration to the case following the latest conviction.

He said: “It confirms that he has clearly in breached the conditions of his release through his very violent conduct.

“Consequently, and not withstanding that he is in prison currently in the Republic and is likely to be so for some time, I have suspended his ’early’ release licence with immediate effect.”

It means that when Duffy is freed from jail he is liable to be returned to the North to serve out the rest of his life sentence for murder.

Mr Woodward said: “I reiterate the pledges of my predecessors that the government will suspend the licence of any prisoner who was released under the early release scheme introduced following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement where, as in this case, they are believed to present a risk to the safety of others.”

Duffy pleaded guilty in Dublin to the attempted murder of Colin O’Neill at the Emerald Bar in Dundalk in March last year.

The court heard Duffy had a row with O’Neill, put a shotgun to his face and fired once, before shooting his victim again in the back.

In 1996, he was given a life sentence in the North for the murder of John Gibson three years before.

Mr Gibson worked for a construction firm hired by the then Royal Ulster Constabulary.

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