HOW many years in prison does a garda killer serve? Thirty? Twenty? Ten? Go lower.
Five years. That was the measly amount of time that Martin McDermott served for killing Garda Gary McLoughlin by ramming the officer's patrol car at high speed.
McDermott is a repeat offender - he has 91 other convictions. What's more, he escaped from prison during his sentence - a crime for which he served a derisory 14 extra days.
Even by the lenient standards of the Irish justice system this beggars belief.
Can you imagine the anger, upset and sense of betrayal felt by Garda McLouglin's grieving family, friends and colleagues after McDermott's release last Monday?
His early release after being given a lenient sentence - eight years with one suspended, for killing a garda - has added insult to injury for McLoughlin's family.
Alas, this is justice Irish style.
McDermott had 91 previous convictions when he drove his stolen car into Garda McLoughlin's patrol car in December 2009. The officer died of his injuries the following day. He was just 24 years of age.
During the 180kph chase that led to this killing, McDermott was driving drunk. There were two warrants out for his arrest.
In 2011 he was convicted of manslaughter. He was later transferred to Loughan House open prison in Co Cavan, only to abscond and go on the run in Northern Ireland. During his capture there he assaulted a PNSI officer.
Despite his prison escape McDermott still - amazingly - qualified for automatic remission on his sentence.
Under 2007 prison rules remission should be granted to inmates for good conduct. Why was it granted to an escapee? Who signed off on it and will they explain why?
This automatic right of remission is a nothing short of scandalous in cases of violent prisoners like McDermott.
Everything about this case highlights, once again, the imbalance in our judicial system. Again we see a system weighted in favour of the offender, at the expense of law-abiding citizens and the common good.
Under no circumstances should a violent, career criminal, who killed a member of An Garda Siochana while attempting to evade arrest, be entitled to favourable treatment.
Does the Minister for Justice have any say in such remission matters?
If not, why not? I cannot think of another release that merited Government intervention more than this one.
In fact there were strong grounds to appeal McDermott's original eight-year sentence on the grounds of leniency, but it's too late for that now.
How long before McDermott is before the courts again? A few days, a week, a month? It's inevitable. So the cycle goes on.
We are the ones left to hope that this thug doesn't kill another innocent person.
Welcome to Ireland - no place to be a victim of crime.
The mayhem continues in our country's emergency departments.
Despite the HSE Emergency Departments Task Force the grim situation of patients on trolleys has once again reached crisis point.
The past week has seen not one, but two, women over the aged of 101 left on a trolley for more than 24 hours.
I recall back in 2006 then Health Minister Mary Harney went on radio to say that she would tackle this practice.
She failed miserably, as did all her successors in the Department of Health.
Rosie O'Halloran (102)
Nine years later, in March of this year, 9,000 patients were left on trolleys in our hospitals.
Since then the situation has further deteriorated. Last week an lady of 102 years, Rose O'Halloran, was left waiting on trolley for 26 hours in Tallaght Hospital's emergency department.
Last Monday it emerged that another lady, aged 101, was left for 25 hours on trolley at University Hospital, Limerick.
This deplorable treatment of our vulnerable citizens of advanced age is nothing short of a human rights abuse and it reflects badly on our country.
The plight of these elderly people, who have been deprived of privacy and dignity, should make us all hang our heads in shame.
Despite Government and HSE promises the situation in our emergency departments regularly resembles a war-zone. Some years ago Brian Cowen described the HSE as 'Angola', so stricken was it with political landmines and faction fighting.
Nothing has changed. The HSE - which ultimately oversees our emergency departments - is an utterly discredited institution. It should be abolished now.
EMBATTLED FAI boss John Delaney didn't seem to have a care in the world as he shared a passionate clinch with his partner, Emma English, at the Ireland-England friendly at the Aviva last Sunday.
John Delaney and partner Emma English
Delaney, in the eye of the storm since his comments on a €5m 'hand of wad' payment to the FAI from Fifa, appeared to have put any concerns behind him.
There have been fewer high-profile figures in Irish soccer in recent years than Delaney. The FAI boss appears to have lost some of his usual lustre since news of this payment emerged.
Evidence of this was the booing of him by some Irish fans at the Aviva last Sunday. This didn't seem to have troubled the soccer boss though, as he held hands and planted a smacker on his beloved while Sports Minister Paschal Donohoe looked on. Delaney doesn't let things get him down, it seems.
Chef and food critic Paolo Tullio died last week, aged 65. Tributes quickly appeared from all corners of society in appreciation. I loved his work on The Restaurant. While he was fair he was never insulting or pompous and offered help to up-and-coming chefs. He'll be sadly missed by all his friends and colleagues.
HEARTLESS thieves stole a prosthetic limb from Paralympian Shane McLoughlin after breaking into his car. It is hard to understand why anyone would want to take such an item. McLoughlin needs the limb back as he's due to compete in Berlin later this month. I would appeal to the thieves to return it.