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Eamon O Cuiv Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Ó Cuív defends asking for a man convicted of manslaughter to be moved to an open prison

The man he made representations on behalf of was a drug dealer who killed an associate and stored the body in a freezer.

FIANNA FÁIL’S EAMON Ó Cuív has defended his actions of making representations on behalf of a man convicted of manslaughter.

The Irish Independent reported today that the Agriculture spokesperson wrote a letter on behalf of the drug dealer who killed his associate and stored him in freezer. The letter asked that the man be moved from a high security prison to an open prison.

The newspaper also revealed that he has made representations to the Irish Prison Service on behalf of a number of prisoners.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Saturday with Claire Byrne, Ó Cuív said over the last twenty years he has had a big involvement in prisoner issues, particularly in Northern Ireland.

“I am aware of the perception,” he said, adding that he thinks “long and hard” before making any such decision to make representation.

Ó Cuív stood by his decision, stating:

I have to do what I think it right. If in my heart I feel I have done what is right then I am willing to live with that perception.

He said that the representations he made were different made by those of Niall Collins. Earlier this week it was revealed that Collins had written to a judge to ask for a drug dealer not to be sent to prison. He has since said that it was a mistake and Fianna Fáil’s Micheal Martin has resisted sacking Collins as Justice spokesperson, despite calls for his resignation.

Ó Cuív said he did not interfere in the judicial system, saying he made representations to the prison service on behalf of people that can not make representations themselves.

“It is a tricky situation,” he admitted, saying that he did not think it was a “black and white” issue.

When asked would be welcome a cross-party decision on whether representations like this were appropriate for TDs to make, he said that he wanted the issue “teased out” in an Oireachtas committee.

Read: Niall Collins admits that asking a judge not to jail a drug dealer was ‘a mistake’>

Read: How Niall Collins did nothing wrong, but did himself no favours>

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