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The lifers 11 vicious killers released from Irish jails last year

Family of victim call for details of Parole Board’s meetings to be made available

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Notorious: Malcolm MacArthur is out of prison

Notorious: Malcolm MacArthur is out of prison

Notorious: Malcolm MacArthur is out of prison

Life doesn't mean life for many of those who commit murder in Ireland - and relatives of their victims say the system needs to change.

The average life sentence was shortened to 17-and-a-half years last year, while the number of murderers released on parole annually more than doubled in the past five years to 11 last year.

Recent months have seen the release of numerous murderers, including sadistic gangland killer 'Cotton Eye' Joe Delaney, wife-killer Anton Mulder and Westmeath man Seamus Dunne, who shot dead his neighbours in a fit of rage.

Many other well known killers, like Malcolm MacArthur, have been walking the streets for years despite their heinous crimes.

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Notorious: Malcolm MacArthur is out of prison

Notorious: Malcolm MacArthur is out of prison

Notorious: Malcolm MacArthur is out of prison

Families of victims have said they can't understand how murderers are let back on to the streets - especially those who show no remorse.

Aisling McLaughlin, whose sister Siobhan (38) was murdered by her husband Brian Kearney in Goatstown, Dublin, in 2006, told the Sunday World that the system is geared towards meeting the needs of the perpetrators rather than those of the victims' families.

"I think anybody who has committed a murder should serve a life sentence.

"When somebody has taken someone's life in a cold-blooded and calculated way, as happened with him [Kearney], a life sentence should mean literally a life sentence.

"I really resent the fact it's called a life sentence because nobody knows what it is."

She said she believes if someone has already killed and shown no remorse then it wouldn't be hard for them to kill again.

Threat

"If there is no regret or contrition or even anxiety over it, then you're just dealing with stone-cold granite.

"How easy would it be to do that again? How can we know it's not in their head to do it again? They live with those images [of taking someone's life] and if they can live with them they're very dark. They are a threat. It's extremely frightening."

She said the authorities should be more transparent by publishing what murderers who are granted parole have said to the board, as some killers who come out seem to express no remorse.

"I think it should be established whether a person has willingly and truthfully been remorseful. It has been touted as a condition of release.

"It should be a matter of publication. It was a matter for the State to have a big trial and a matter that one of their citizens was murdered so why isn't it a matter for us to know those details?"

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Pure evil: Brian Kearney

Pure evil: Brian Kearney

Pure evil: Brian Kearney

She said Brian Kearney has never shown any remorse so she hopes that prevents him from getting out. "In our case you have an individual who has not shown any remorse and that is always a condition for release.

"By remorse there is embedded in that an admission and that's never going to happen with him. I wonder what are his chances."

Aisling told the Sunday World she was shocked to learn that Brian Kearney's former cell mate Anton Mulder was released from prison this summer after serving just 15 years, despite being sentenced to life for murdering his wife.

Mulder strangled his wife Colleen to death at their home in Dunshaughlin. Co Meath, shortly before Christmas in 2014. The South African, who was a traffic cop in his native country, told a pal how easy it would be to kill his wife, who was also the mother of their six kids, because in Ireland he'd only get a few years for manslaughter.

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Free man: Anton Mulder strangled his wife Colleen

Free man: Anton Mulder strangled his wife Colleen

Free man: Anton Mulder strangled his wife Colleen

He told another man that he was planning to max out his credit card, remortgage his house and return to South Africa with the cash because he was tired of his family.

Their relationship had been bad for years but had particularly deteriorated after Colleen suffered a miscarriage in 2004 and began suffering from depression.

Aisling said it was worrying that someone who had murdered his wife in cold blood could get out after 15 years.

"I didn't even know he was out. I can't believe he only served 15 years. I'm worried now because I'm thinking if Mulder is out after 15 years then that must give a lot of hope to a lot of guys in there. I'd like to know what the criteria was for releasing him."

A man who shot dead his two neighbours in Westmeath 23 years ago walked free this summer despite being handed two life sentences.

Rage

Seamus Dunne killed Vincent (59) and Mary Cully (54) in Mullingar in a dispute over pebble-dash stones.

Dunne was a neighbour from hell who had numerous run-ins with his victims in the years before the killings and his simmering rage boiled over on the day of the attack.

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'Flipped': Seamus Dunne shot two of his neighbours dead

'Flipped': Seamus Dunne shot two of his neighbours dead

BRENDA FITZSIMONS/ALLPIX

'Flipped': Seamus Dunne shot two of his neighbours dead

He worked himself into a rage after his wife told him some workmen carrying out pebble-dashing at the Cully's home had parked in front of the their house and cursed at her when she asked them to move the vehicle.

Dunne then claimed he heard pebbles being thrown at his door. He later went out and shouted at the Cullys over plaster that had spilled on to his pillar from the work.

There was an exchange of words between him and Vincent Cully, who told Dunne he'd be better off painting it and mocked him, saying he'd give him the money for the paint if he didn't have it.

Dunne went into his house and got his shotgun and 20 cartridges in a bandolier and stormed towards the Cullys, who didn't think he'd open fire.

However, he fired a shot, hitting Mr Cully in the shoulder while shouting "now who's a mean old c***?"

Mr Cully tried to get away from Dunne who followed him up the driveway and shot him in the back.

He then shot Mary Cully twice in the back and said to another witness present: "I'll do you all."

He then cornered one of the workmen and reloaded his gun for a second time and demanded to know who had thrown stones at his door.

Shotgun

The terrified workman denied it but before Dunne could kill him his wife came out and pushed the shotgun into the air. Dunne later told gardai he had just "flipped". He was released from prison in June and moved to a halfway house in Dublin.

'Cotton Eye' Joe Delaney, who tortured and murdered Mark Dwyer back in 1996, walked free this May 21 years after being sentenced to life.

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‘Cotton Eye’ Joe Delaney

‘Cotton Eye’ Joe Delaney

Kevin Mc Nulty

‘Cotton Eye’ Joe Delaney

Instead of showing any remorse on his release, Delaney, who claims to be a "good Catholic", made ludicrous claims that he was framed and the real killer walked free, despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

The drug-dealer, pimp and killer had been the first organised crime killer to be jailed for murder in Ireland in a landmark case.

Twisted Delaney tortured and killed Dwyer in an obsessive attempt to find out what happened to a stolen consignment of 40,000 ecstasy tablets.

He was far from a model prisoner behind bars and was involved in attacks on other prisoners including a shiv attack which left another inmate badly scarred.

He would also walk around a prison landing naked to make a nuisance of himself and was moved prison after being accused of sexually harassing a female prison officer.

Other notorious killers to be released on parole in recent years include Malcolm MacArthur, released from prison in 2012 after serving 30 years of a life sentence for the murder of nurse Bridie Gargan.

MacArthur, who came from a wealthy farming family, is also believed to have murdered Offaly farmer Donal Dunne but was only charged in relation to Ms Gargan's death for reasons that were never explained by the DPP.

He walked free in 2012 and is regularly spotted walking around Dublin city centre.

Controlled

Three years ago he attended the book launch of former justice minister Alan Shatter and went up to talk to him at the event.

Aisling said no matter how a killer acts in prison or in front of a parole board there is no telling what they will do on release.

"Somebody's behaviour when they're in a controlled environment is so different to when they're released into society," she said.