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Ex-terrorist O’Hare withdraws appeal against prison term

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Notorious: O’Hare argued he was being punished for his misdeeds of the past. Credit: Gerry Mooney

Notorious: O’Hare argued he was being punished for his misdeeds of the past. Credit: Gerry Mooney

Notorious: O’Hare argued he was being punished for his misdeeds of the past. Credit: Gerry Mooney

 Former INLA terrorist Dessie O’Hare has withdrawn his appeal against the severity of his sentence for falsely imprisoning a family.

His barrister had suggested that he was being sentenced for the sins of the past, rather than the present.

In 1988 O’Hare was sentenced to 40 years for kidnapping Dublin dentist Dr John O’Grady and causing him grievous bodily harm, but was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in 2006.

O’Hare kidnapped Dr O’Grady from his home in Cabinteely in October 1987 and held him captive for 23 days. During that time O’Hare chopped off the tips of Dr O’Grady’s fingers while demanding a ransom of IR£1.5m.

O’Hare, of Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, was jailed in 2019 by Dublin’s Special Criminal Court for seven years for falsely imprisoning a family in their home and for leading a “disturbingly violent” attack on another man.

The 63-year-old admitted assaulting one man and falsely imprisoning another in June 2015.

O’Hare was jailed for three years for the assault, and 10 years, with the final three years suspended, for false imprisonment. The sentences are running concurrently.

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Justice Tony Hunt said at the time that the violent side of O’Hare’s personality was not in remission and that his threat to society had “not completely abated”.

O’Hare appealed the severity of his sentence at Dublin’s Court of Appeal yesterday. However, the court warned him of its powers, which include increasing as well as decreasing sentences.

Before the appeal opened, Court president Justice George Birmingham noted that there had been a directly relevant previous conviction with a sentence of 40 years.

“He was released under the Good Friday Agreement and what does he do? He reoffends,” he remarked.

O’Hare’s barrister Dominic McGinn suggested that the court had “placed too much emphasis” on the O’Grady kidnap, “effectively sentencing Mr O’Hare for the sins of the past, not for the sins of the present”.

The court rose to give Mr McGinn some time to consult with his client. When the court resumed, the barrister said that Mr O’Hare had instructed him to withdraw the appeal.



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