Sinn Fin TD helps released killers evade pursuing media
CONOR LALLY Crime Correspondent, In Castlerea
Thu, Aug 06, 2009
RELEASE OF MEN CONVICTED OVER GARDAS KILLING: SINN FIN TD Martin Ferris collected convicted garda killers Pearse McCauley and Kevin Walsh from Castlerea Prison yesterday morning.
The men were being released after serving 10 years of a manslaughter sentence for killing Det Garda Jerry McCabe in a botched robbery in 1996.
Mr Ferris took part in a well-planned operation to shield the men from the media. McCauley and Walsh switched from the van in which Ferris and two other men collected them to a second vehicle parked on a back road.
Mr Ferris travelled to the prison campus as a front-seat passenger in a 99D white Ford Transit van just after 6.30am.
He was accompanied by two unidentified men, one of whom hid his face.
The three men waited in their parked van outside the gate of the prison until just after 7am when McCauley and Walsh emerged through a small door out of the prisons reception area carrying their clothes.
McCauley and Walsh, who were part of the gang that fatally shot Mr McCabe in the back, got into the van carrying Mr Ferris and were driven up the long driveway and out of the prison campus.
A small group of photographers and journalists who had gathered close to the prison door were told to leave the area by prison staff about an hour before the mens release and remained at a roundabout some 100m from the door.
The only vehicle, apart from those driven by prison officers, permitted to pass the barrier and drive up to the prison wall was the van that carried Mr Ferris and later drove McCauley and Walsh away.
As their van left the prison it was followed off the campus by two armed detectives in an unmarked Garda car and a number of vehicles driven by journalists.
The van drove on to the main road in the direction of Dublin for about two miles before turning left on to a minor road.
After a short distance the van came to a halt in the middle of the road under a small railway bridge.
A car had been parked in advance at the far side of the bridge, into which McCauley and Walsh quickly switched.
As their vehicle drove off the van carrying Martin Ferris parked in the middle of the road under the railway bridge preventing the media from following McCauley and Walshs car.
When the van carrying Martin Ferris eventually pulled off it drove very slowly, allowing McCauley and Walshs car more time to lose the following media.
At a crossroads about five miles from the railway bridge the van carrying Mr Ferris turned left back towards the town of Castlerea.
2009 The Irish Times