A prison officer from Scartaglin, allegedly stabbed by an inmate who fled from custody while being escorted to hospital, has left the intensive care unit at Dublin’s Tallaght Hospital and medics believe his life is no longer in danger.
Colleagues who have visited Dan Buckley said he is making steady progress from life-saving surgery after being knifed in the abdomen.
The violent assault occurred as two prison wardens were escorting a man from Portlaoise Prison to the Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Tallaght where he had an appointment relating to his diabetes.
It has been reported that the criminal produced a knife while his handcuffs were being removed.
Dan Buckley, who is in his late 30s, was stabbed in the bowel and also sustained serious hand injuries in the attack.
He and colleague, Graham Flynn, had attempted to disarm the dangerous criminal but he is reported to have turned on the two prison guards and inflicted serious injuries before escaping. He has since been rearrested in Belfast.
Dan, who has been working with the Prison Service for more than a decade, is former Scartaglin footballer and was goalkeeper with the club at underage level.
The Prison Officers’ Association has said it is “deeply concerned” about the incident and that thoughts at this time are with their injured colleagues and their families.
“It is vitally important that the Irish Prison Service thoroughly investigate this incident and establish how such a serious assault could have occurred,” said spokesman Jim Mitchell.
“It is very evident that prisoners, who are known to be dangerous and pose a serious risk, must be accompanied by appropriate levels of security when being escorted outside the prison environment,” Mr Mitchell stated.
He added that the incident highlights the many risks and challenges faced by prison officers while doing their duty, on behalf of the State, on a daily basis.