Outrage: A Corrupt senator who was jailed for €100,000 extortion racket has been released from prison 13 months early – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Outrage: A Corrupt senator who was jailed for €100,000 extortion racket has been released from prison 13 months early


There is outrage today as a corrupt former senator jailed for two years over his role in a €100,000 extortion racket has been released after just 11 months into his sentence. Former Fianna Fail politician Francis or “Francie” O’Brien left Loughan House Open Prison in Co Cavan a free man yesterday morning.

Mr O’Brien was not due for release until next May, it now has come to light that Mr O’Brien was granted a place on the Irish Prison Service’s Community Return Programme. As a result  O’Brien was freed immediately to return to his native Castleblayney in Co Monaghan.

The news has many questioning the decision, with Sinn Fein Justice spokesman Padraig Mac Lochlainn calling for an explanation for the early release. Mr Mac Lochlainn said: “The concern that I would have would be that it needs to be seen that no matter who this citizen is, if you are given a sentence that you are expected to serve the sentence.”

However Mr O’Brien, 71, will be required to attend an unpaid municipal work programme for two to three days a week.

O’Brien was subsequently jailed last November for his part in attempting to extort €100,000 from Agriculture Department veterinary inspector Michael Heelan in what was described by the judge as “an abominable scheme”.

Mr O’Brien a senator from 1989 to 2011, O’Brien had pleaded guilty to the charge and was jailed for three years with one suspended. Although with automatic 25% remission, it was thought that he was to serve at least 18 months in prison.

Mr MacLochlainn also added: “I do believe in a penal reform system but there is a balance here and someone needs to show that they have paid their debt to society. “If someone is given a sentence by a judge, minus that 25% remission, then that needs to be served. “And if they are released then it needs to be shown that it doesn’t just apply to an elected representative or a wealthy individual.”

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