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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005, 22:48 GMT
Greysteel killer to serve terms
Irwin was convicted of the Greysteel killings
Irwin was convicted of the Greysteel killings
Convicted loyalist murderer Stephen Irwin is to serve out the eight life sentences he received for the 1993 Greysteel atrocity.

Irwin had been released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

However, his licence was suspended after he was accused of slashing a football supporter with a knife during trouble at last year's Irish Cup Final.

Irwin, who is 32 and with an address on Belfast's Woodvale Road, was jailed for four years for that attack last week.

Eight people were shot dead when the Ulster Freedom Fighters opened fire inside the Rising Sun bar in the County Londonderry village of Greysteel at Halloween 1993.

One of the gunmen shouted "trick or treat" before opening fire on customers.

Irwin and three other UFF men were convicted and given eight life sentences for the murders.

It is understood Irwin still has a right to appeal - although he has not responded to two previous chances to do so.

Father Stephen Kearney, who was parish priest in Greysteel at the time of the murders, said relatives of the victims were relieved Irwin had been ordered to serve the eight life sentences he received.

Father Stephen Kearney
They will now have a sense of relief that they will know for certain that they will not meet him
Father Stephen Kearney

"I am sure seeing his photograph in the paper with the knife is bound to be very upsetting," he said.

"They will now have a sense of relief that they will know for certain that they will not meet him.

"It is not that they want him punished - they won't have to relive it again."

SDLP assembly member John Dallat said he welcomed the move to have Irwin serve the eight life sentences.

"However I am concerned that he can still apply for earlier release, but given the notoriety of his crimes the life sentencing review board should not change their decision.

"I hope the families of the innocent victims he killed will find some comfort knowing this man will live the rest of his days behind bars."




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