Longford man set to walk free from prison early

Longford man set to walk free from prison early
A father of two who was sentenced to six years in prison in 2011 for the manslaughter of a Longford man over a decade ago is to be given early release.

A father of two who was sentenced to six years in prison in 2011 for the manslaughter of a Longford man over a decade ago is to be given early release.

Nigel Kenny, with an address at 13 Castlegardens, Newtownforbes, Co Longford was handed down the sentence in February 2011 following the death of 20-year-old Martin McKiernan on September 1, 2001.

During the court hearing at the time, evidence was heard of the tragic events which led up to Mr McKiernan’s tragic death at Townspark, Longford.

Longford Circuit Court was told Mr McKiernan died after running in front of a bus while attempting to flee from Mr Kenny and a group of men after he was set upon at the Longford Slashers GAA Club.

In a case which involved up to 50 witnesses, gardai initally charged six people.

One man received a two year sentence for manslaughter with three others being given 12 month suspended sentences for violent disorder.

Mr Kenny however, failed to appear for a preliminary court hearing and absconded to the UK instead.

It wasn’t until almost a decade later that Mr Kenny was eventually extradited back home following a drink driving conviction he picked up in the UK five years earlier.

At his court hearing in 2011, the now 33-year-old blocklayer, was described by Judge Anthony Kennedy as being the ringleader behind the pursuit of the late Mr McKiernan.

“Mr McKiernan was outnumbered, harried, cornered and defenceless from start to finish,” he said.

“The fact the accused was laced full of drink is no defence.”

Judge Kennedy subsequently sentenced Mr Kenny to six years in prison, backdating the term to July 29 2010 when Mr Kenny was first taken into custody.

Earlier this month, lawyers acting on Mr Kenny’s behalf applied to the courts for instant release, due to new remission rules.

In a further application, High Court proceedings last Friday heard that Mr Kenny was also taking legal action against Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, seeking instant release and a compensation payout.

The court heard he is taking the action on foot of a recent landmark High Court ruling that had enabled him to seek ‘enhanced’ remission. Mr Kenny insisted he should have been released by July 29 last, and was seeking damages for every day he has been kept behind bars since.

The court was told last Friday the State had agreed to release Mr Kenny on October 27.

He is currently serving out the remainder of his sentence at Co Cavan’s low-security open prison, Loughan House.