TWO prison officers were attacked as they bravely stopped an escape bid by an inmate at a Dublin hospital.
Both employees of the Irish Prison Service were assaulted by siblings of the prisoner they were guarding at the Mater hospital.
The guards were transporting the inmate from Mountjoy Prison to the nearby hospital on Dublin's North Circular Road at the time of the incident.
The frantic escape bid came about after the male prisoner complained of feeling unwell on Sunday evening.
Upon arriving at the Mater hospital, it is understood that he spotted someone he knew and called out a mobile phone number to them.
The prison officers asked hospital staff to fast track the inmate as they were concerned something was about to happen.
However, this wasn't possible at the time.
A short time later, two people, understood to be the inmate's brother and sister, arrived at the hospital.
One of the officers was struck in the groin area.
"It was a serious scuffle. The prison officers were set upon," a source said.
Both prison officers managed to hold off their assailants, and the inmate was prevented from escaping the hospital building despite the best efforts of his relations.
"Prison staff put their own safety on the line to protect others who were in the waiting area [at the hospital] and they have suffered greatly as a result," a senior source said.
A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service added: "The Director General would like to commend the staff for the way they dealt with the incident."
The inmate was returned to Mountjoy Prison after the incident where he remains locked up in isolation.