Temporary release fuels fears Catherine Nevin could soon be back on streets
'Black Widow' Catherine Nevin is being given regular periods of temporary release from prison.
The move, which is to facilitate her attendance at an educational course, has fuelled speculation the 64-year-old is coming close to a full release.
She is currently in the 16th year of a life sentence for organising the murder of her husband, publican Tom Nevin.
The Irish Independent understands the Parole board recommended that Nevin take part in an educational course, which involves spending considerable periods away from the Dochas Centre women's prison.
Such periods of temporary release are often granted to assist with the resocialisation of an inmate in advance of their final release.
A spokesman for the Prison Service declined to comment. As of yet, no decision has been taken in Nevin's case and no provisional release date is being considered.
Any decision to release her would have to be sanctioned by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
A spokesman for the minister said he could not comment on individual cases.
"More generally, a life-sentenced prisoner is eligible for review by the Parole Board after serving seven years in custody," he said.
"Each case is considered on its individual merits and the board take into account the full range of circumstances."
Nevin's husband Tom was shot dead at his pub, Jack White's Inn, near Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow in 1996. The gunman was never found.
However, Nevin was convicted of the murder after a lengthy trial which heard evidence she had solicited men to kill him.
She has always denied the charges.