Schoolchildren find bag of machine gun bullets and shotgun cartridges in south Dublin park
Gardai are investigating the discovery of live ammunition after children stumbled across machine-gun bullets and shotgun cartridges in a south Dublin park.
Pupils from John Scottus secondary school in Donnybrook discovered the live ammunition while on a science trip in Herbert Park, Ballsbridge.
While searching bushes in the park for insects, the young students came across a plastic bag containing the ammunition.
Among the items discovered in the bag were four live rounds of .303 bullets as well as two live 12-gauge shotgun cartridges containing 28-gram shot loads.
A garda spokesperson confirmed that gardai were investigating the incident after receiving reports of the discovery of ammunition in the park last Monday. A letter was sent out by the school the following day reassuring parents that the cartridges would not have "gone off", but added that "it's not something we would like children to find".
Local councillor Paddy McCartan, whose family grew up in the area, expressed his concern at the "worrying" discovery.
"A new pavilion and cafe are due to open in the park this week, and a lot of money has been invested in the area, so to think that ammunition has been found in Herbert Park is quite worrying.
"A lot has been done in the area to stamp out anti-social behaviour and this will obviously have to be reviewed at the next Council meeting," he added.
Mr McCartan explained how there were discussions among councillors and residents over the decision to leave some of the gates of the park open at night time to allow gardai to patrol the area.
"The decision to leave the gates open was criticised by some people, but there have been far less complaints about anti-social behaviour in the area being made since the gates were left open at night.
"Gardai have been doing a great job in the area to stamp out anti-social behaviour, but obviously the discovery of live ammunition is concerning, and it could be in relation to a paramilitary group or an organised crime gang." Mr McCartan said.
A source explained how the discovery was "strange" for the area and that the ammunition found were similar to those used in automatic weapons and shotguns.
"You wouldn't normally hear of ammunition being stashed in the D4 area, it's a strange one all together. The bullets found would normally be used for a machine-gun, which raises concerns about somebody close to the area being in the possession of some serious fire power," the source explained.