John Lonergan, the former governor of Mountjoy Prison, has said hundreds of convicted sex offenders have been released from prison in recent years and that the public outcry over Larry Murphy’s release is over the top.

Lonergan said Murphy, a convicted rapist, should be given a chance to reintegrate into society

"Anyone with common sense will say that communities have a right to be protected and I can understand their fear and their anxiety. On the other hand, a person who has been sentenced, who has served their sentence, also has the right to mend his or her ways and to reintegrate back into society,” said Lonergan, just days after Murphy was released from Arbour Hill Prison.

Lonergan criticized the public hysteria surrounding Murphy’s release.

"Personally, I think the way it’s being dealt with by the gardaí, managing on a low-profile basis but monitoring the person, that is the only way. Any other thing like society taking it into their own hands and standing outside houses picketing, that’s over the top."

Lonergan said that many released offenders were able to return to normal lives.

He said: “We must have the belief that people can change."