A High Court application for early release by Michael McKevitt, who is serving a 20-year sentence in Portlaoise Prison for directing terrorism, has been adjourned until Monday afternoon.

McKevitt claims he is entitled to immediate release following a High Court ruling last week that another Portlaoise prisoner, Niall Farrell, was not given proper consideration for a one third reduction in his sentence for good behaviour.

The judge in that case ordered Mr Farrell's immediate release.  

Senior Counsel Diarmaid McGuinness today said the State is contesting McKevitt's application and presented a ten-page response from the Department of Justice to the High Court.

Counsel for McKevitt, Mark Lynam, then asked for an adjournment to consider the State's submission and to consult with McKevitt in Portlaoise Prison.

McKevitt, 59, from Beech Park, Blackrock, Co Louth, was jailed for 20 years in 2003 for directing terrorism and membership of an illegal organisation, the Real IRA.

The sentence was backdated to 29 March 2001.

He would already be free if he had been given a one third reduction in his sentence.

An application by another IRA prisoner Joe Kirwan for release on the same grounds was adjourned until 2pm tomorrow.