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Mitchell will release what clemency appeal letters he has

The Fine Gael presidential candidate is under pressure for letters appealing for clemency for death row inmates that he has written during his time as a TD and MEP.

Gay Mitchell
Gay Mitchell
Image: Photocall Ireland

THE FINE GAEL presidential candidate Gay Mitchell will release letters he has written appealing for clemency for death row inmates but it’s not clear if he will be able to find all of them.

Mitchell’s director of elections Charlie Flanagan has said on Twitter that some of the letters may not be found “as they were written 20 years ago,” adding: “TDs not noted for retaining files for over 20 years.”

It comes amid growing calls for the Dublin MEP to release all the letters he has written whilst in public office in which he appeals for clemency for prison inmates on death row, including one in 2003 for anti-abortion campaigner Paul Hill.

Hill was on death row for the murder of two people outside an abotion clinic in 1994. Mitchell has defended his actions saying that the circumstances of Hill’s conviction had nothing to do with his plea for clemency.

Such letters have come under scrutiny in the aftermath of independent senator David Norris’s withdrawal from the campaign over a letter he wrote seeking clemency for his former partner when he was to be sentenced for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old.

Flanagan also said on Twitter: “Gay Mitchell has made numerous clemency pleas over the years. He has been campaigning against death penalty for 20 years,” and added that the “death penalty is state authorised murder and is barbaric and unjustifiable !”

The Mitchell campaign is increasingly exasperated and denies accusations that it is hiding any letters written by the former TD for Dublin South Central and current MEP for Dublin.

TheJournal.ie understands that Mitchell’s campaign staff as well as his staff in his European office in Brussels have been working to locate all letters he has written as a TD and MEP for the past three weeks.

Read: Fine Gael and Labour dismiss appeals for poster-free Áras campaign>

Read: All our Race for the Áras coverage>

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Hugh O'Connell

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