IT is believed that a gang of thieves who stole a large amount of cash and a number of liquor bottles from a city centre pub on Saturday morning accessed the property â€“ and made their shortlived escape bid â€“ through a yard attached to Limerick Prison.
Publican Jerry Oâ€™Dea admitted it was unusual to hear of thieves â€œbreaking into a prisonâ€ after his business was targeted and three cash registers robbed at around 6am.
A spokesman at Roxboro garda station said that two men were â€œcaught in the actâ€ and arrested in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
While not a locked-down part of the prison proper, the yard houses the accommodation block for prison officers as well as storage facilities for the Mulgrave Street jail.
The yard is enclosed behind a 10-foot wall on Mulgrave Street and it is believed the raiders may have scaled this obstacle before and after raiding the pub, for which they had to climb a second permiter wall.
The pub is sandwiched between the yard and the secure prison complex and Mr Oâ€™Dea said his business was previously targeted by thieves who gained access from prison property.
â€œWe did have another burglary here about 10 years ago and we believe it happened in that way,â€ said Mr Oâ€™Dea.
â€œItâ€™s disappointing but in a way I suppose itâ€™s humorous too and all the talk in the pub and on the street today is that while youâ€™d often hear of fellas trying to break out of a prison, youâ€™d never of them trying to break into one. Weâ€™re told these guys were in and out in a flash.
â€œAlthough the area is secure with CCTV cameras and the rest, it is a little disappointing and we would hope that the area can be made more secure in the future,â€ said Mr Oâ€™Dea.
Major construction work is planned for the area in the coming years with the redevelopment of the oldest sections of Limerick Prison. And a new court complex for Limerick has also been mooted at a site adjacent to the jail.
Two males were arrested in connection with the incident on Saturday morning. One appeared before a special sitting of Limerick District Court on Sunday night and his alleged accomplice has been charged and is due before the court next week.
It is believed the Irish Prison Service could be asked to provide footage from CCTV cameras as part of the investigation.
â€œWe will be assisting the gardai with their inquiries,â€ a spokesman for the Prison Service said.