\"Michael

Michael Peter Fitzpatrick, 51, is accused of raping and killing 28-year-old Laura Romines August 18, 1996, Photo by: Police Handout

Irish consular assistance granted to death row prisoner in Florida

\"Michael

Michael Peter Fitzpatrick, 51, is accused of raping and killing 28-year-old Laura Romines August 18, 1996, Photo by: Police Handout

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed it is providing consular assistance to a newly conferred Irish citizen who is currently on death row in Florida.

On Monday the retrial of Michael Fitzpatrick, 51, who is facing the death penalty, began in Florida.

Fitzpatrick, 51, had been sentenced to death for raping and killing 28-year-old Laura Romines on August 18, 1996, in Pasco County. He was born in the U.S., but it is understood his parents originally came from Tipperary.

Last week British based justice charity Reprieve called on the Government to get intervene.

Reprieve case worker Hannah Gorman said his lawyers in his first trial "completely failed him."

“All evidence against Michael is circumstantial,” Gorman added.

In a statement on Sunday the Department of Foreign Affairs said: "Mr Michael Fitzpatrick was granted Irish citizenship last week.

"As a result, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to Mr Fitzpatrick and will notify the relevant US authorities of our interest in the case.

"The department has met with and is in regular contact with Reprieve in relation to this case."

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