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family's shock Mother of murder victim Paul Gallagher 'horrified' after early prisoner release

Seán Barrett (33) was granted temporary release from prison last Thursday

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Gardai at the scene at Ballymacan, Co. Meath where the body of Paul Gallagher (inset) was found.

Gardai at the scene at Ballymacan, Co. Meath where the body of Paul Gallagher (inset) was found.

Gardai at the scene at Ballymacan, Co. Meath where the body of Paul Gallagher (inset) was found.

The family of murder victim Paul Gallagher has said release of man convicted of withholding information about the case after just 40 days in prison is “a slap in the face”.  

Paul Gallagher’s mother, Ger, said she was “absolutely horrified, gutted," when she discovered that Seán Barrett (33) was granted temporary release from prison last Thursday.

Barrett, from Donaghmede in Dublin, had served just over one month of a six-month sentence.

Barrett is the only one person who has ever been charged in connection with the investigation into the death of Paul Gallagher (26), who was shot in the back and neck.

Dad-of-one Paul's body wasn’t found until two days after the killing in Co Meath in July 2014.

No one has been brought to justice for the murder.

In March, Barrett was sentenced to two years in prison, with 18 months suspended, after pleading guilty to failing to disclose information in relation to the murder of Paul Gallagher..

The court was told he failed to tell gardaí, when first interviewed as a witness, that he knew the first names of two men who had travelled with himself and Mr Gallagher to Ballymacan in Co Meath.

However, he has now been released from prison.

The Gallagher family have said they were not informed about Barrett's early release and only found out by chance when someone spotted him in recent days.

According to Marie Gallagher, the victim’s sister, a Victim Liaison Office told her that Mr Barrett was not deemed a danger to the public.

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"The judge said he was getting a six-month sentence to act as a deterrent," Marie told RTE’s Prime Time.

"So how does it act as a deterrent if you only serve 40 days," she said.

"Six months I don’t believe would act as a deterrent anyway, but 40 days – it’s a slap in the face."

"I was absolutely horrified. I was gutted," Ger, Paul Gallagher’s mother, added.

"It took five years in court to get to where we got."

Marie Gallagher found her brother’s body in July 2014, at Ballymacan, close to the Louth border.

"Paul was clearly running, because of the way he was lying here. We all knew he was mid-run," Marie previously told Prime Time.

"So how many people were chasing him? The fear must have been absolutely… I don’t think there is a word."

After being arrested on suspicion of withholding information, Barrett eventually told detectives that he knew the "Christian" names of both men.

He also told them that he had previously driven Paul to meet with one of the men at a property in Co Louth.

"Had this information been given at the time of the murder, the gardaí could have got search warrants to get information about those people", Marie told Prime Time.

Her mother Ger, who attended every single court appearance of Seán Barrett, has a clear message.

"Had Seán Barrett given the information in a timely manner, we might be sitting in the High Court in Dublin with a murder trial," she said.

"The person or persons who murdered Paul so callously that night are still roaming around – and who’s to say they won’t do the same again?"

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