A worrying statistic released by the Irish Prison Service has revealed that a shocking number of Irish prisoners who have escaped from jail are still on the run.
A total number of 441 prisoners have failed to be caught by the gardai and returned to prison to finish their sentences.
According to the Irish Mirror the majority of these inmates, which the prison service classify as "unlawfully at large", had been granted temporary release and were coming towards the end of their sentences.
Many of the prisoners never returned to prison after obtaining temporary release on compassionate grounds or to attend programmes or rehab to support them when they had completed their sentences.
Last year there were 12 incidents of prisoners escaping from Shelton Abbey open prison in Co Wicklow, and two of these have still not be found.
A Irish Prison Service spokesperson said: "We will vigorously pursue any person who absconds from custody.
"They will be followed, they will be sought and their return to custody will be sought no matter how long it takes. There is a lot of work being done trying to find people who are unlawfully at large, with An Garda Siochana, to get them back into custody."
An average 3,718 prisoners were in custody last year, including 140 women at a cost of €189 to house one adult prisoner each day.
This is a total cost of about €69,000 a year to the Irish State.