A DONEGAL Garda sergeant attending the annual conference of the AGSI has hit out at the government over the handling of the aftermath of the escape from prison of garda killer Martin McDermott.
McDermott walked out of Loughan House in County Cavan last month causing outrage amongst the public and amongst gardai that he could have been sent there just seven months into a seven-year sentence for the manslaughter of Garda Gary McLoughlin.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors this week called on Justice Minister Alan Shatter to hold a full inquiry into how Raphoe born McDermott came to be in Loughan House prison. He had 90 previous convictions and had escaped from the Cavan prison when he was there in 2007.
Minister Shatter has insisted that no such inquiry will take place saying the issue had been ‘fully addressed’. However speaking at the conference Sergeant Paul Wallace, Donegal’s crime prevention officer, spoke out about the escape and aftermath in his role as a member of the AGSI.
“There is hurt all around,” said Sgt Wallace, reacting to the Minister’s refusal to hold a full independent public inquiry into the Irish Prison Service’s handling of McDermott case.
“I can’t even articulate that hurt but this seems to be the way things are going at the minute, where we have people saying that we’ve had an inquiry and saying that everything is ‘hunky dory’ and it’s not,” he said.
There is still widespread anger throughout the force in the county and especially in Buncrana where Leitrim native Garda McLoughlin served, at the way the issue has been handled.
The anger at the AGSI conference echoed that same anger voiced by the Garda Representative Association (GRA). They are calling for gardai on duty to be given special protection in new laws.