Two prisoners who escaped from Loughan House jail in Cavan have been captured by Gardaí.
The two men, aged 20 and 23, absconded from the open prison early on Saturday morning and were found in Cork after they allegedly attempted to steal a vehicle.
One inmate has convictions for drug offences, while a second is a serial joy rider.
The escape is the second of its kind from Loughan House this month; a convicted drug dealer walked free early in October and is still on the run.
Loughan House is an open prison where inmates are given greater freedoms than in a normal prison. The aim is to slowly reintegrate them back into society.
However, this month’s spate of escapes had led to calls from across the political spectrum for the Irish Prison Service to reevaluate who they are sending to open prisons. Sinn Féin’s Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD told Newstalk:
“Well I think there needs to be a review of all of that and to ensure that prisoners are adequately monitored when they’re there in the first place.
“But also as you say, the calibre of prisoners… that we’re sending to an open prison.
“Personally, I’m in favour of open prisons, I think they can work very well and are good to rehabilitate people... to what should be a normal life rather than go back to the chaotic life that they may have come from.”
Similarly, John Paul Feely, a Fianna Fáil councillor in Cavan, said it was time for a rethink:
“I don’t know anything about the two people who absconded in recent days but I certainly was very concerned about the individual who escaped a number of weeks ago.
“I know he was about to be sent back to one of the high security prisons because of his behaviour. But I would question whether he should have been in Loughan House in the first instance given his record.”
There are currently two open prisons in Ireland; Loughan House in Cavan and Shelton Abbey in Arklow, Wicklow.
Main Image: Loughan House Picture by: Radharc Images / Alamy Stock Photo