Six prisoners are unlawfully at large in Ireland having escaped prison, new figures have revealed.
Fine Gael's Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, the number of prisoners “known to have absconded from prison or evaded capture or imprisonment in each of the past three years to date”.
Minister Flanagan: “I am advised by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service that Irish Prison Service records indicate that for the period 1 January 2014 to 17 October 2017, 39 persons absconded from custody, of these 6 remain unlawfully at large."
The number of prisoners deemed to have absconded in 2014 stood at 11 with one still at large.
In 2015, there were fifteen absconders with three of these still at large, nine prisoners absconded in 2016 with zero of those still at large.
To date this year there have been four absconders with two of those still at large.
Gardaí are informed when prisoners abscond and they have the power to detain, arrest, and return such persons to prison.
The Minister added: “Experience has shown that the vast majority of offenders who abscond return voluntarily or are returned to custody to complete their sentences within a short time frame.
“I also wish to advise the Deputy that in October 2012, the Director General of the Irish Prison Service established a project team to examine how the Irish Prison Service might reduce the number of prisoners who are unlawfully at large from custody.
“The project team has worked closely with An Garda Síochána and the Department of Social Protection and its work has led to the re-committal of a number of prisoners who had absconded from custody.
“This project is ongoing.”