Irish Independent

Border Fox set to walk free from jail next year

'BORDER Fox' Dessie O'Hare is expected to be released permanently from jail next year. He is currently out on temporary release and is due to return to Castlerea jail tomorrow.

But the move is being seen as another step in the Government's plan to set him free as a qualifying prisoner under the Good Friday Agreement.

O'Hare was sentenced to 40 years for leading the INLA gang which kidnapped Dublin dentist John O'Grady in 1987 and he was a prime suspect for an estimated 27 murders in a bloody 30-year career in terrorism.

One of the most wanted men on the island was given permission to leave Castlerea for five days last Wednesday.

It is the second time this year he has been out on temporary release. In July he was allowed out for a few days.

Last November he was granted his first taste of freedom for 16 years when he was allowed out for a weekend stay at Glencree Reconciliation Centre although he was later reprimanded for posing for photographs in the grounds.

Earlier last year, O'Hare was also carpeted by the prison authorities after he gave an interview to a newspaper.

O'Hare's prospects of freedom were boosted by the High Court ruling that he qualified under the Good Friday early release scheme and he has been waiting patientlywhile his case is being reviewed by the Release of Prisoners Commission.

The 48-year-old former terrorist gang leader, from Keady, Co Armagh, was transferred from Portlaoise jail in late 2002 to The Grove bungalow complex at Castlerea.

His fate over the next 12 months is likely to be partly determined by the outcome of the current North talks with the British and Irish governments, and the North parties.

Tom Brady
Security Editor

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