PICS: Convicted killers and drug dealers hike on holy mountain

As they cheerfully registered Croagh Patrick, the violent killers could have passed for any other circle of pilgrims.

However, the Sunday World can reveal that this credulous looking group includes men who have a lot of sins to beg forgiveness for. 

We were peer at as 12 inmates from Loughan House, including four icemen and half a dozen convicted drug dealers, scaled the 764 metre brim

Among the hikers were: 

  • Richard Kearney, who battered 72-year-old Mary Dillon to downfall with a rake; 
  • Mick Connors, from Ferdia Park, Ardee, who rout his twin sister’s boyfriend to death with a hammer;
  • James Keane, who burst a close friend to death with a shotgun after a five-day-bender;
  • Paul Sheehan, who rebounded and stamped so hard on a man’s head his victim entered a coma and died as a come about of a cardiac arrest nine months later.

The incredible scenes be divulged as the men, all of whom are nearing the end of their sentence, disembarked in the car park at the mountain rudely after 10am on Wednesday.

Croagh Patrick is one of Ireland’s most famous voyager attractions and, according to legend, Saint Patrick fasted on the site for 40 dates in 441AD. 

Our undercover team watched as a team made up of four hoosegow officers and the prison chaplain escorted the men to the foot of the mountain.

In good fires, despite intermittent rain and gusts of wind that made the climb uncountable difficult, the group chatted as they began the climb.

Richard Kearney

But, the group broke into threes and fours as the arduous climb took a palpable toll.

As other unsuspecting climbers scaled the peak, four of the Loughan Quarter inmates had better reasons than most to embark on the hike, organised by the choky’s chaplain.

Richard Kearney was a 17-year-old petty criminal when on the endlessly of November 23, 1998, he broke into the home of 72-year-old Mary Dillon and go oned out one of the most sickening murders in the history of the state.

Seasoned gardaí were thunderbolted when they called to Mary’s home two days later, after being warned to her disappearance by a friend who had been due to meet with her the previous day.

What they start was a scene of carnage and mayhem in the garage of Mary’s home. The murdered widow had been harmed and beaten with a rake.

“It is a scene that will live with me until my serious,” said a detective on the case.

“I still shudder to think what that trivial woman went through.”

When arrested, Kearney admitted get through a disbanding into her garage and claimed that he “lost the head” when she unable to cope him. The young thug concocted a web of lies for gardaí and tried to blame another man for the exterminate.

However, damning forensic evidence sealed his fate and in May 2001 he come by a sentence of life in prison.

Paul Sheehan was just 21- years-old when he was jugged for life in 2004 alongside pal Ross Stapleton, despite pleading not embarrassed to the murder of Christian Scully (28).

Mr Scully was on life support after being set upon at Together Lane, Cork, early on January 28, 2002, before he suffered a cardiac detain nine months later and died on October 17.

During a nine-day judicial proceeding, the jury heard the statement the two accused gave gardaí. Sheehan had conveyed: “I went over and helped Ross, I got him (Mr Scully) on the ground and started kicking him… I was punting him as hard as I could and stamping on his head.”

Mr Stapleton said: “We just spent him to death. We just kept beating him. When we lifted him up his face was liking a tap, there was blood everywhere.”

Michael Connors (above) was 26-years-old when he was convicted of the extinguish of his twin sister’s boyfriend Patrick Gallagher (44), who he beat to passing with a hammer and broom at his home at Drogheda Road, Ardee, on February 7, 2000.

The jury heard Patrick was wasted with a broom as he lay on a mattress on the floor alongside Susan Connors – the accused’s pair.

He died from multiple injuries, including a punctured lung and herniae to the liver and spleen, while his chest was also impaled with the demoralized shaft of the broom handle.

The court heard Ms Connors had spent all day on February 6 doch an dorris with Patrick.

At closing time they went back to Mr Gallagher’s quickly, where Ms Connors fell into a drunken stupor on a mattress on the hold a session room floor.

Shortly afterwards, Michael Connors broke down the door of the sure armed with a hammer and attacked Gallagher. 

The court heard Connors knocked of the relationship between Ms Connors and the deceased, who was 20 years her senior and a morose drinker.

Also climbing the mountain was gun killer James Keane, from Limerick, who slew 23-year-old pal Stephen Carey by shooting him in the chest at point blank drift at College Avenue, Moyross, Limerick on June 13, 2004. 

Keane had initially recanted the charge, but his trial heard he changed his plea to guilty in the hope the obsolete man’s family might one day “find it in their hearts” to forgive him. 

Garda Darragh Maguire gave prove that Keane, the deceased, Gary Carey, and other people had been wet ones whistle heavily outside a house at College Avenue in Moyross. 

A row started between Keane and the Careys and some duration later Keane went away and came back with a sawn-off shotgun. 

Another row ensued between Keane and Stephen Carey and the accused was perturb that the deceased would not shake hands with him following their altercation.

In an effort to protect his brother, Gary Carey told Keane: “Race me. Don’t shoot my brother.” 

Keane took two cartridges out of the shotgun and went into the bawdy-house. 

However, unknown to the people gathered outside, Keane reloaded the weapon and came stand behind out, firing one round at Stephen Carey, hitting him in the chest from four or five feet. 

He then mused the shotgun in the direction of Gary Carey and discharged one round, narrowly missing Mr Carey. 

Contacted by the Sunday Give birth to this week, the Irish Prison Service defended the visit by the dillies to Croagh Patrick.

“The Irish Prison Service transfers prisoners to untie centres who have been deemed, following a risk assessment, to order a lower level of security,” a spokesperson said.

“Prisoners transferring to disposed centres may avail of programmes of temporary release to aid their reintegration distant into the community.  

“Such programmes do include hill walking and other rules of recreational activities. 

“Prisoners engaging in these activities are assessed for suitability and are accompanied by choky staff at all times. 

“It is the role of the Irish Prison Service to engage disposition all offenders in custody in a proactive and progressive manner.”

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