Gerry O'Carroll: The McAleavey I know should have been caged for ever
IT was with immense shock that I learned of the release from prison of triple killer Michael McAleavey after 27 years behind bars.
I'm a humane person, I believe that even the worst killers can find redemption.
But I make an exception for McAleavey, a soldier who callously gunned down three of his colleagues in the Lebanon in 1982.
For me, he falls into a special category which includes the Moors murderer Ian Brady and Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.
I speak from experience, as I travelled to the Lebanon to question McAleavey and I can honestly say he was one of the most callous killers I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.
McAleavey was a 21-year-old private in the 52nd Infantry Battalion which served in Lebanon in 1982. On Wednesday October 27 he shot dead three of his comrades, Corporal Gregory Morrow (19), Private Thomas Murphy (19) and Private Peter Burke (20).
At the time, Irish peace keepers faced danger from indis-criminate shelling and from roadside bombs, but they met their doom at the hands of their own trusted colleague.
In the months following the massacre, McAleavey maintained his innocence and insisted his colleagues were shot dead by an armed faction of the PLO.
This was despite the fact that ballistic evidence proved that the soldiers had been shot with McAleavey's own FN rifle.
They suffered multiple gunshot wounds and had been shot through the head at point blank range. In January 1983 my colleagues and I travelled to Lebanon to investigate the killings and we interviewed McAleavey at the military police Irish battalion headquarters known as Gallow's Green.
Within hours, he had confessed to the three murders. He gave a chilling and unemotional account which I still recall word for word. He said Corporal Morrow made him get off a chair and sent him to the sandbags on the bridge.
He told us: "I was f*****g annoyed by him. I told him to F off or I would burst him. I slagged him about his weapon. He told me that he would see that I would be sent home, back to Dublin.
"I started to walk away. I heard him laughing at me. I turned away, cocked my rifle, turned again and started to fire automatic at them, starting with Morrow. They were all sitting down on chairs, they fell to the ground. I went up to them and finished them off."
McAleavey didn't display the slightest remorse.
I realised then that I was in the company of one of the most ruthless psychopathic killers I would ever meet.
When we searched his lockers in Cathal Brugha Barracks we discovered he was quite the artist and had drawn sketches that mirrored the awful murders he would later carry out.
He was tried in the Curragh and was sentenced to life in prison.
I knew that his release was inevitable, but it didn't lessen the shock I felt when I heard he had walked free.
I heard the mother of one of his victims speaking on radio and her words moved me to tears.
Her son has been dead for 27 years and yet McAleavey is now a free man.
In this case, the passage of time has not diminished the ferocity and savagery of these brutal murders. Three innocent soldiers lost their lives because of this man.
I believe that justice demands that killers of his calibre should serve the rest of their natural lives behind bars.
My heart goes out to 'voiceless' young gardai
I wasn't a bit surprised to hear that a paltry 3pc of gardai have supported the latest 'industrial action' by the GRA.
Let's not forget that this is Plan B, coming in the aftermath of GRA General Secretary PJ Stone's decision to survey members on a form of industrial action.
Talk of strike action was met with anger by the Minister for Justice and Garda Commissioner. In blunt language they threatened to arrest and charge anyone who provoked any industrial action that would threaten the authority of the State.
The latest, watered-down action is described as the "withdrawal of goodwill", with members refusing to use their personal mobile phones, laptops and cameras for official duties.
I'm sure PJ and the Executive are extremely disappointed to note that only about 300 of the 12,000 rank-and-file members signalled through a letter to their superintendent that they would take even this limited form of action. I feel they believe that to take part would only cause an inconvenience to themselves.
More to the point, diligent officers would find that the lack of phones would be a serious hindrance and impediment to the performance of their duties. This was indicated by the survey and shows why so many were not prepared to go down that road.
It appears there's no stomach for industrial action within the gardai. This is despite the fact that many rank-and- file gardai are suffering severe financial hardship thanks to the levies and cutbacks. My heart goes out to them, especially younger members with less than 10 years' service who are paying mortgages on houses bought in the property bubble. I feel it is very unfair that in the 21st century gardai have no voice at the negotiating table with the Government.
An Garda Siochana occupies a unique role at the core of our democracy. By law, its members cannot strike, so the force is curtailed when it comes to taking action to protest against crippling wage cuts.
What is urgently needed is for garda representative bodies to be given a voice and the authority to negotiate pay and conditions.
Call me cynical, but isn't Tiger more interested in wooing back his sponsors than his wife?
Well what a coincidence! Is it just me, or is it remarkable that golf's bad boy Tiger Woods should choose to make a dramatic comeback just in time for the US Masters?
Call me cynical, but it smacks of a carefully orchestrated plan to relaunch this serial adulterer back on to the world stage with maximum fanfare and minimum damage to his image.
Last year, revelations of his betrayal of his beautiful wife Elin caused a huge blow to his carefully cultivated image. and his impeccable self-control. Now we know this was all a facade, with women crawling out of the woodwork to reveal tawdry stories about their liaisons with him.
Like all celebrities in trouble, he went down the rehab route, getting treatment for sex addiction. I don't know about you dear reader, but I think this is the biggest load of gobbledegook. Tiger isn't suffering from illness, other than the fact that he's a rich, successful man who has women throwing themselves at his feet.
In a recent photograph, both Tiger and Elin were seen sporting the Nike logo. That smacks of a blatant attempt on Tiger's part to ensure the safety of his lucrative deal.
Perhaps he's also fearful for the fate of his millions in the event of a split from his wife.
Tiger, it's time to face reality. Either stick loyally by your wife or stay single and be a playboy forever. But even the rich and famous can't have it all.