A MAJOR investigation has been launched after two prisoners escaped from Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon this morning. It is understood the prisoners are two Romanian nationals.
Sources say that the incident happened shortly after 8am today and is the latest incident in which prisoners have escaped from jails in Ireland this year.
But what makes this morning's incident unusual is that the prisoners escaped from what is described as a "closed, medium security" facility.
It is the committal prison for remand and sentenced prisoners in Connaught and also takes committals from counties Cavan, Donegal and Longford.
It is also the same jail that the killers of Garda Gerry McCabe were held in away from other prisoners while they served their jail terms.
The other recent jail escape incidents this year happened at Loughan House open prison in Co Cavan where security procedures are not as rigorous.
The most notorious incident occurred when garda killer Martin McDermott fled from the unit in March just 12 days after being transferred there. McDermott was jailed for seven years last July for the manslaughter of Garda Gary McLoughlin in 2009 after ramming him with a car. The 26-year-old was later arrested in Derry by the PSNI.
It was the second time McDermott had fled from Loughan House and prison chiefs were forced to apologise for the transfer.
In the latest escape incident before today, three prisoners who fled from Loughan House were detained by gardai in late April less than 24 hours after fleeing. Gardai have been notified and a search is under way in the area.
Castlerea houses some of Ireland's most notorious inmates including child killers Ronnie Dunbar and john Lynch. A search is under way in the area