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Limerick councillors back motion to stop transfer of Kevin Sheehy's murderer to UK jail

"This was a young Limerick man, a promising boxer and a good-living person who tried to avoid confrontation on the night and yet suffered the most violent death"

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A Limerick councillor who backed a motion to stop the transfer of Kevin Sheehy's murderer to a British jail has said he believes the killer should serve out his time in Ireland.

Cllr Jerry O'Dea was speaking after a motion by outgoing district leader Cllr Catherine Slattery called on Helen McEntee to cease her challenge against a High Court bid brought by the mother of the murdered boxer.

The action has been brought by Tracey Tully, whose 20-year-old son was killed at Hyde Road Limerick on July 1st 2019.

The Irish champion boxer suffered catastrophic and fatal head injuries after being repeatedly struck by a vehicle driven by Logan Jackson of Longford Road, Coventry, England.

Following a trial before the Central Criminal Court last December Jackson was convicted of Mr Sheehy's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The 31-year-old Jackson then applied to the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee for a transfer from Ireland to a prison in the UK where he can serve out his sentence.

In judicial review proceedings against the Minister for Justice Ms Tully challenges that decision and seeks an order from the Court quashing the transfer.

She has brought the proceedings because she claims that if the transfer goes ahead, she fears she will not have any say, nor be able to make any submissions to the UK authorities when Jackson applies for parole.

She claims that if the transfer goes ahead any decision on a parole application by her son's killer would be in the hands of the authorities in another jurisdiction.

She claims that the Minister's decision to allow the transfer to go ahead is unconstitutional and an "abdication of the Irish state's responsibility to determine when a person serving a life sentence may be paroled."

Now, members of Limerick's metropolitan district will write to Ms McEntee to formally lodge their opposition to any transfer.

Cllr Slattery said: "I couldn't leave the chamber without raising this. It is a disgraceful decision [to move Jackson]. It's disrespectful to his family, disrespectful to his family, to his mother, daughter and father. We as a council need to put pen to paper and let her know we do not agree with her decision.

"There's a family here who will never get over losing Kevin, but if this decision is reversed, it will give the family some comfort knowing that this animal is locked up in an Irish prison."

Her party colleague, Cllr Jerry O'Dea who formally seconded the motion, said it was unanimously supported.

"I spoke on it because I’ve known the family for quite some time and I feel quite strongly about this,” he said.

“And there is a lot of strong feeling about it in Limerick too, whereby this was a young Limerick man, a promising boxer and a good-living person who tried to avoid confrontation on the night and yet suffered the most violent death.

“The feeling is that if he goes back to the UK and behaves himself his sentence would be reduced, his family would be able to visit him and we don’t know what might happen after that because we have no control over the UK system.

“And (you have to ask) where is the accountability in all of this?

“Somebody who commits a crime like that and is convicted of it in Ireland, is jailed in Ireland and it is felt very strongly in the community that the punishment should be served out here too. And now it looks look that might not happen. So, knowing the family, as we do, we decided to speak out.”

Cllr O’Dea added that the family has never come to terms with what has happened.

“But if the person responsible is seen to have an easier life in the UK on a commuted sentence then that could only add to the trauma they are feeling,” he added.

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