Published Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Three inmates escaped and made off over the Irish border. (© UTV)
The three men, all in their 20s, scaled a perimeter fence before spending three hours on the run.
One of the trio was tracked down in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.
"Whilst I obviously welcome the co-operation between the PSNI and the Garda which resulted in an escaped prisoner being apprehended in Enniskillen, I am keen to find out how that individual escaped in the first place," Ulster Unionist Justice spokesman Tom Elliott said.
According to the Irish Prison Service, the alarm was raised at 5.40pm on Tuesday evening.
It would appear that the Republic’s Justice Minister has questions to answer - particularly just how ‘open’ is an open prison?
Tom Elliott, UUP
Prison staff gave chase and also alerted local gardaí. The PSNI were notified as the prisoners escaped across farmland and over the border into their jurisdiction.
Dog handlers and a police helicopter were used during the search operation.
Northern Ireland's Justice Minister David Ford said excellent cross-border policing links were demonstrated.
"Through their good policing, these three prisoners were quickly apprehended and returned to custody," he said.
"Their response to this incident shows the high quality of policing that is being delivered by both the PSNI and the Garda in the border area."
All three prisoners were back in Loughan House by about 8.45pm - two are now returning to Wheatfield Prison and one to St Patrick's Institution on Wednesday.
There have been at least 16 escapes from open prisons in the Republic this year so far - including 26-year-old Martin McDermott who was jailed for seven years last July for the manslaughter of a Garda officer in 2009.
He escaped from Loughan House for the second time and was later detained over the border, in Londonderry.