Four young offenders managed to escape from a north Dublin detention centre in the space of only two days, causing concern among local elderly residents that their safety could be in danger.
The incidents happened at Oberstown campus in Lusk last Sunday and Tuesday at around 7pm.
The schools on the site are used in the detention of children and younger offenders aged between 10 and 17.
The three child detention schools currently in operation are Trinity House School, Oberstown Boys School and Oberstown Girls School, all of which are located on the campus.
SECURITY It is understood the boys who absconded did so from the higher security Trinity House, which according to locals has a wall higher than 40 feet at its perimeter.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs confirmed to the Herald that two boys absconded from the Oberstown campus on the evening of May 17.
It also confirmed that two other boys absconded on the evening of May 19.
"In both cases, the details of the boys concerned were notified promptly by Oberstown management to An Garda Siochana, local residents, the Department and the chairman of the Oberstown board," it said in a statement.
It added that the two boys who absconded last Sunday returned to the campus on Wednesday.
The second pair of escapees were still at large.
But local residents disputed the claim that they had been informed of the incidents.
"We are supposed to be told of these things. Anybody who signed up to receive the information regarding any incidents is supposed to be kept informed but that did not happen in this case," said one Lusk resident.
"This is of obvious concern to us because, let's face it, the people who are in that place aren't in there for not brushing their teeth.
"I heard that two of the people who escaped were spotted in the yard of a local house, and it is worrying the elderly people living in the area, many of whom are alone or frail, or both."
Both the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and An Garda Siochana said the issue of the escapees was a matter for the other party.
The department said the circumstances of the two incidents are currently being reviewed, with a view to addressing any identified risks to the secure functioning of the Oberstown campus.
"The location of the boys who absconded on Tuesday remains an operational matter for An Garda Siochana," the department added.
"Oberstown management will, in line with procedure, continue to liaise with the garda authorities as required."
Gardai confirmed they are aware of the escapes, but added that it was a matter for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to comment on.