Presidential candidate Gay Mitchell wrote to the US government seeking clemency for a condemned man who kidnapped, raped and murdered an 18-year-old girl. Mitchell is the candidate of Fine Gael, the main party in power.

A letter from Mitchell, personally delivered to the US Embassy in Dublin, pleaded for the life of Louis Joe Truesdale to be saved.

Truesdale was eventually executed after he was convicted in 1980 of the horrendous crime when he forced Rebecca Ann Eudy into his car at gunpoint, shot her four times and raped her as she bled to death.

A spokesman for the Mitchell campaign in Dublin has confirmed to Irish media that the Fine Gael candidate wrote in support of Truesdale due to his opposition to the death penalty "in any circumstances."

Mitchell’s spokesperson told the Sunday Independent that: “The letter was sent in his capacity as the chairman of the Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Human Rights.

“In the letter, he pointed out that of the 3,300 people on death row in the United States in 2003, 46 were women and 58 were juveniles.”

Last week, Irish papers printed a letter from Mitchell pleading for clemency for pro-life campaigner Paul Jennings Hill who was convicted of the murder of two people outside an abortion clinic in 1994.

Hill never expressed remorse for his actions and before his execution he said that he expected "a great reward in heaven" for murdering the two men.

Links between Mitchell and the far right Tea Party in America have also been exposed in recent days.

Mitchell’s office has claimed that Hill’s case drew letters appealing for clemency from "every corner of the globe."

His spokesman added: “Like most people seeking clemency, Mr Mitchell made it abundantly clear that he abhorred Paul Hill’s crime.”

Fine Gael's presidential candidate Gay MitchellGoogle Images