Reports into the escape of convicted garda killer Martin McDermott from an open prison in Co Cavan have revealed that he had escaped from the same prison a number of years earlier.

At the time of his escape last month, McDermott had served nearly two-and-a-half years of a seven-year sentence for killing Garda Gary McLoughlin in a car crash in Co Donegal.

The Irish Prison Service and Justice Minister Alan Shatter have acknowledged that the transfer of McDermott to Loughan House was a mistake.

They have both said measures have been put in place to ensure it does not happen again.

Minister Shatter has published the report into the transfer, which says McDermott was sent to Loughan House on 3 March to allow him further educational opportunities and move him closer to his family.

On 15 March he walked out of the open prison and across the nearby border into Northern Ireland.

McDermott was recaptured by the PSNI several days later and is currently serving a sentence there for assaulting a police officer.

It also emerged in the reports that while Portlaoise, Mountjoy and Cork prisoners were overcrowded, Loughan House had a lot of spare capacity, which was also a factor in the decision to transfer McDermott.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Garda Representative Association President Damien McCarthy said he was distressed and angered by the report.

Mr McCarthy said the association did not accept the assessment by Midlands Prison staff that McDermott met the criteria for the transfer of an inmate to an open prison.