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From takeaway to getaway, what a shambles

The food must be bad in Portlaoise Prison.

After all, prison officers travelling there from Dublin are forced to stop their van in Inchicore to get chips for criminals.

Call me naive, but I thought violent inmates of the country's maximum security prison were rushed to and from Dublin hospital appointments without stopping.

Not so, it seems. Last week a van carrying Lee McDonnell, doing 10 years for a string of crimes including violent robbery, stopped in Inchicore for chips. McDonnell was peckish, it was reported.

Unsurprisingly he then did what any violent criminal would do in such circumstances.

He attempted to escape - and he succeeded.

Apparently he managed to get out of his cuffs and when prison officers opened the van door to hand him his food, he made a run for it.

The Prison Service is carrying out an investigation though - excuse the pun - I'd have thought this to be an open and shut case.

This violent, unpredictable gangster is today, more than a week later, still at large.

He has 74 convictions, including a previous four year sentence for hijacking a car, and was not due to be released from prison until 2019.

What crimes has McDonnell committed while on the run? Or is he even in the country anymore?

How many garda man hours, scarce at the best of times, are being spent on tracking him on down?

All this for a bag of chips, less than an hour away from a prison full of food.

What a country we live in.