A PRISON 'riot squad' was forced to respond after a group of inmates barricaded themselves inside a library before causing extensive damage.
The incident occurred at St Patrick's Institution on Monday afternoon after four prisoners "went on the rampage" and sparked a major security alert.
The prison's so-called 'riot squad' was called in and a three-hour stand-off took place between officers and the inmates.
The drama unfolded at approximately 3pm while 14 prisoners were in the library.
Sources told the Herald that four of the prisoners "went on a riot" and began trashing the room.
They destroyed some of the fixtures and fittings, which included book cases, tables and plants.
The rest of the inmates fled after the four young men began tearing the library apart.
They then barricaded themselves inside, which sparked a major security alert.
Prison bosses drafted in a team of officers who are trained in "control and restraint", known more informally as the 'riot squad'.
The officers wear protective gear and are experienced in dealing with unruly and potentially dangerous prisoners.
A source told the Herald: "This was an extremely serious situation which warranted an equally severe response from the prison authorities. These lads went completely on the rampage and caused extensive damage to the library itself.
"The bizarre thing is that officers don't know why these lads went so berserk. It's like they just said 'to hell with it, let's break the place up'. Many of the books in the library are completely destroyed."
After three hours of negotiations, the team of officers managed to persuade the prisoners to unblock the door.
The damage to the library itself is extensive and it will cost several thousand euro to repair.
The Herald has learned that all four inmates are now subject to disciplinary proceedings and will have their chances of remission reviewed by the prison authorities.
A spokesman for the prison service confirmed the incident took place but said that nobody suffered any injuries.
"The team of officers responded in an extremely professional and prompt manner in order to deal with the situation at hand," he told the Herald.