A violent prisoner has escaped from a Dublin hospital only weeks after having an appeal over his conviction for a serious knife attack rejected.
A garda manhunt was continuing last night for Michael Power (23) after he fled from prison officers while being treated at St James's Hospital.
He is currently serving a partially suspended 10-year prison term for a violent knife attack on a homeless man which left the victim with life-altering injuries.
Gardai were alerted at around 8am yesterday after Power got away from two prison officers escorting him to the hospital.
He made his way through the building and out of the emergency department before fleeing the scene.
The Irish Prison Service (IPS) will now be carrying out its own internal investigation to establish the circumstances of the escape.
"The Irish Prison Service can confirm that a prisoner has escaped from lawful custody while on escort to St James's Hospital this morning," a spokesman said.
"An Garda Siochana were notified immediately and provided with all the relevant information in relation to the prisoner."
Last night, gardai were carrying out searches in the south inner city and surrounding areas for Power.
The Herald has learned that on March 8 he failed in an attempt at the Court of Appeal to have his conviction for the assault on homeless Thomas Hanrahan quashed.
In October 2017, he was jailed for 10 years, with 18 months suspended, after the horrific knife attack in the city centre.
He sliced his victim's face from the ear to the mouth, which left the man requiring 48 stitches and with permanent scarring.
The homeless man also suffered potentially life-threatening injuries and had to have his spleen removed.
Power's victim will be on life-long medication.
Power, of Parslickstown Gardens, Mulhuddart, was convicted of assault causing serious harm and possessing a knife in Dublin's south inner city on June 27, 2015.
He has 33 previous convictions and has been in prison since 2015, having been held on remand before his conviction.
The victim had been sitting in a doorway minding his own business when he was subjected to the "unprovoked and vicious" attack.
Power was only 20 when he carried out the attack and was identified by CCTV and a description given by a witness.
He was later arrested in possession of a flick knife but refused to say anything during his garda interviews.
Judge Elma Sheahan imposed concurrent sentences totalling 10 years and suspended the final 18 months in order to encourage his rehabilitation.
She backdated the sentence to July 2015.
Power is not to have any involvement or approach Mr Hanrahan for five years after his release.
During Power's trial it was noted that he had a serious drug problem but had since cleaned up and had become a facilitator in the prison's alternative to violence programme.
At the time, the court also heard that Power was a spokesperson for the Travelling community in the prison.
He had also completed an overdose prevention programme to be of assistance to other inmates.