6 March 1997 Edition

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Kinsella arrest vindictive

BY LIAM O COILEAIN

Republicans have reacted angrily to the re-arrest this week of former POW Sean Kinsella.

Kinsella returned home from England a year ago, having served over 21 years in British prisons but on Tuesday 4 March, he was rearrested as he cycled home from Redhills, County Cavan and was immediately taken to Portlaoise Prison. ``The arrest and incarceration of Sean Kinsella is an abominable act that is, in my view, both politically orchestrated and charged with vindictiveness,'' reacted Monaghan County and Urban District Councillor Caoimhghín O Caoláin.

Kinsella escaped from Portlaoise Prison in 1974 after being convicted for the killing of Fine Gael Senator Billy Fox. The following year he was arrested and given a life sentence in England. He was finally released in January 1996 but was forced to remain in England until March 1996, when he finally returned home to Ireland. ``He has lived openly in the Clones and Redhills area in the 12 months since his return, O Caoláin pointed out, adding that his arrest has caused ``considerable anger in the East Cavan community and in his native Monaghan''.

O Caoláin also criticised media reports that Kinsella had been ``recaptured'' (RTE Six-One News) or that he had ``slipped quietly back'' to Ireland last year, as Wednesday's Irish Independent claimed. ``This language is designed to create the impression that Seán Kinsella has been a fugitive since his return,'' he said. ``Nothing could be further from the truth. Seán has lived openly and at personal ease for the past year. He has spent a lot of that time caring for his aged mother, who is in ill-health. His return to Monaghan was marked by a packed welcome home function which was advertised in the local press and on local radio.''

``Seán Kinsella has more than earned his peace,'' said O Caoláin. ``His 21 years of ill-treatment in British prisons must surely be taken into account. On behalf of all those who hold to a sense of justice I demand his immediate release and return to his family. I personally call on John Bruton and Nora Owen to demonstrate their compassion by arranging for his release without delay.''

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