A former Irish soldier who killed three of his colleagues in the Lebanon in 1982 has been released from prison in Co Antrim.

Michael McAleavey has served 27 years of a life sentence.

On 27 October 1982, the then 21-year-old shot dead three of his Irish army colleagues while on peacekeeping duties in Lebanon.

Originally he had claimed that Corporal Gregory Morrow, Private Thomas Murphy and Private Peter Burke had been shot by Lebanese gunmen, but he later admitted that he was responsible.

He said he had ‘snapped’ blaming a combination of dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Almost a year later he was sentenced to life in prison.

After spending time at various jails in the Republic his application to be transferred to Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim was granted.

The West Belfast man had made the appeal on humanitarian grounds in order to be closer to his family.

Today a spokesperson for the Northern Ireland prison service confirmed that Michael McAleavey had been released following directions from the Independent Parole Commission.

It was decided that Mr McAleavey should be released as he met all the conditions for his release.

He was freed on a life licence which means that if he breaches the conditions of his release he will be recalled to prison.

It is understood that one of these conditions is that he does not speak to the media.