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The Prison Service made 166 requests for armed escorts last year

… and the gardaí turned most of them down. And no one seems to know why.

Image: Mic V.

THE GARDAÍ RECEIVED 166 requests for armed escorts of prisoners from the prison service last year, but only 69 of the requests were granted.

This represents a 59% refusal rate.

Last month dangerous criminal Derek Brockwell escaped from Tallaght Hospital after stabbing two of his prison guards.  He had three prison officers with him at the hospital but no armed escort.

Neither the gardaí nor the prison service were willing to state why the requests were refused.

17/2/2015eA major search operation is under way af Derek Brockwell

A garda spokesman told TheJournal.ie  that it is their policy not to comment on  matters relating to prison escorts ‘for security and operations reasons’.

An Irish Prisons official meanwhile told us “these are security matters, private matters; we don’t discuss such matters when it comes to individual prisoners.”

If you want to know why the requests were refused you’ll have to talk to the gardaí since they’re the ones who refused them.

Quinn Family Court Cases Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

The news regarding the refusals came to light following a parliamentary question in the Dáil tabled by Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins in the wake of Brockwell’s escape.

Collins says it’s ‘another example of cuts in garda resources putting communities at risk’.

Requests for armed escorts are only made when the prison service believes that a convicted criminal is dangerous enough to attempt an escape or to pose a very serious threat to public safety.

“This is clearly a resources issue,” says Collins.

Political reactions to Callinans resignation Niall Collins Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

We cannot allow a situation where dangerous criminals can run free because the resources aren’t there for secure transportation.
The impact of the drastic cuts to garda resources and the decimation of support for our gardaí is being seen in communities across the country with spikes in crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour.
Now we are seeing a serious impact on security around the transport of violent criminals.

Read: Derek Brockwell has been transferred to a prison in England

Read: ‘Luas security guards have better stab vests than prison officers’

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