Time to get real

It was an outrage that Martin McDermott, 26, was sentenced to just seven years for killing Garda Gary McLoughlin.

That travesty took place less than a year ago but McDermott, with 91 previous convictions, had been transferred to a low-security prison. He escaped on Thursday but was arrested in Derry yesterday.

The sentence and his transfer is a slap in the face to everyone who wants to believe in the integrity of our systems. Justice Minister Alan Shatter has ordered an inquiry, but that will run into the usual dead end and no one will be held accountable.

Our prisons are terribly overcrowded and many sentences are rendered meaningless because prisoners are released through a revolving door to make way for the next convict in line.

Our current arrangements are not working and we need to do two things — have the courage to urgently build new prison spaces and impose sentences that are real deterrents and insist that they are served in full.


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