The High Court has turned down an application by Michael O'Neill and John Quinn for release under the Good Friday Agreement.

O'Neill is serving an 11 year jail term for killing Detective Garda Jerry McCabe and lesser concurrent sentences for wounding Det Garda Ben O'Sullivan and possession of firearms.

John Quinn was jailed for 6 years for conspiracy to commit a robbery in Adare in June 1996.

Both men claimed they are entitled to early release under the Good Friday Agreement and argued their case in the High Court last November.

They claimed it was perverse to say they do not qualify. Other comparable prisoners, whose victims included Gardaí, had been freed and they claimed they were suffering 'the worst type of discrimination'.

The State said the courts could not interfere in the policy decisions of the Government and could not decide Government policy in relation to the early release of prisoners.

The two men made their application on the grounds that the Agreement of July 1998 provides for a two year period for release of prisoners.

Mr Justice Peart said he was satisfied that there was no obligation on the Minister for Justice to consider the men for release under the agreement.