20 February 1997 Edition

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Portlaoise prisoner denied compassionate bail

BY LIAM O COILEAIN

Hopes that a remand prisoner in Portlaoise would be released to attend the funeral of his sister were dashed last week as Dublin's Department of Justice refused to allow his temporary release.

Michael Cully's only sister, Carmel, died in England on Monday 3 February. She was buried in the family's home village of Clonaslee, County Laois last Thursday morning.

Solicitors for Cully spent all day Tuesday 11 February, in various courts, including the Special Court and the High Court, seeking his release on temporary bail for compassionate reasons.

But because Cully is held on remand and is one of 15 prisoners taking a Constitutional case challenging the legality of their detention (a result of the Judge Lynch affair) the courts ruled that they had no jurisdiction in the matter.

The decision then rested with the Minister for Justice, Nora Owen, and her department but Cully remained in Portlaoise. Republican prisoners in Portlaoise are entering their third week of protest to demand equality of treatment for four prisoners serving mandatory 40-year sentences following the refusal of compassionate parole to Pat McPhillips to attend his mother's funeral.


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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