Fine Gael councillor Brian Walsh has condemned as “outrageous” an incident which saw a prisoner abscond from University Hospital Galway after prison warders, who refused to work overtime, sought a temporary release for him.
Last Wednesday an inmate of Castlerea Prison was brought to the UHG in order to undergo a medical procedure to remove razor blades and batteries which he had swallowed.
The procedure was delayed from going ahead at the scheduled time, and owing to the work to rule strike being undertaken by public service workers, the two prison officers accompanying the man had to leave at 4pm as they would not work overtime.
As a result, the prison officers sought and received a temporary release order for the prisoner. The release was granted but the prisoner, who is due to be released in August, took advantage of this and escaped the hospital. It is believed he made his getaway using a stolen vehicle. However he was later found by gardaí and returned to prison.
Fine Gael councillor Brian Walsh said it was “outrageous” that “vulnerable people in a hospital would be exposed to this.”
“We need a full investigation into how convicted criminals are granted temporary release in this manner,” Cllr Walsh told the Galway Advertiser. “The incident makes a mockery of the Fianna Fáil promise of zero tolerance to crime. The issue of a ban on overtime in these circumstances needs to be reviewed as a matter of urgency.”