Five young offenders escaped from a detention centre in north Dublin today, gardaí said.

The five boys, aged 15 and 17, armed with bats and golf clubs left the facility at Oberstown shortly after six o'clock this evening.

The campus currently caters for 48 residents under the age of 18, including young offenders and criminals with multiple convictions for serious offences.

Three of the five have been apprehended and brought back to the centre. They were found a short distance away.

Gardaí said that the remaining two have not been located. 

The garda air unit and dog unit and local gardaí are involved in the search.

The State's only Detention School for Children has been under the spotlight recently.

It was criticised by HIQA recently for the manner in which it kept a boy in single separation for 27 hours over a period of three days.

Residential care workers and night supervising staff at the facility also voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action due to safety concerns.