Media 'jeopardising' release

Valerie Robinson
Irish News
17 July 2004

Campaigners for the release of 'border fox' Dessie O'Hare are said to
be worried that media leaks will jeopardise his chances of getting
out of prison.

A spokesman for the Derry-based Teach na Failte centre last night
(Wednesday) angrily denied a report that the INLA chief was granted
temporary release from Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon last weekend.

However, prison sources insisted that O'Hare had been released into
the custody of priest, who took him to an undisclosed location for a
reunion with his family and close friends.

O'Hare, who was jailed for the 1987 kidnapping of Dublin dentist John
O'Grady, was allowed out of prison for the first time last November
when he spent a weekend at the Glencree Reconciliation Centre in

The Republic's justice minister, Michael McDowell, was angry after
the high-profile prisoner posed for photographs and chatted to
reporters despite an earlier promise to keep the release secret.

Sources claimed O'Hare's supporters now fear that any publicity
surrounding him could cause a public backlash, prompting the justice
minister to refuse permission for future trips outside Castlerea.

"They're very keen to make sure that nothing comes in the way of
Dessie being freed from prison permanently under the terms of the
Good Friday Agreement. It's still very much touch-and-go with the
whole issue and nobody wants to rock the boat," they said.

O'Hare has been in Castlerea since December 2002 after being moved
from the high-security Portlaoise Prison.

The Armagh man topped Ireland's most wanted list after he
masterminded the kidnap of Dublin dentist John O'Grady.

Dubbed the 'border fox' because of his ability to elude gardai, his
gang demanded a £1.5m ransom for the release of a son-in-law of
millionaire businessman Austin Darragh.

In a gruesome twist, O'Hare ordered the tops of two of his victim's
fingers to be cut off and left with a ransom demand at an Armagh

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