Saturday 17 November 2018

GSOC launch investigation into 'temporary loss of official garda sub-machine gun' in Dublin City Centre

The Garda Emergency Response Unit take part in a training exercise at Drogheda Port Photo: Colin O'Riordan
The Garda Emergency Response Unit take part in a training exercise at Drogheda Port Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) have announced they will investigate the "temporary loss" of an official garda issue sub-machine gun in Dublin City Centre yesterday.

GSOC are now set to investigate how a sub-machine gun apparently fell from the boot of a garda car, close to garda heardquarters in Harcourt Terrace at approximately 5.30pm yesterday evening.

A woman found a bag containing the gun, and went on the Luas, dropping it into Store Street Garda Station 25 minutes later. 

GSOC have described the investigation as a "public interest inquiry".

In a statement released this afternoon, GSOC say they became aware of  the incident through media reports.

It added they had receved no notification or referral from gardai, or a complaint from a member of the public.

"Section 102(4) of the Garda Síochána Act provides for the Ombudsman Commission may, if it appears to it desirable in the public interest to do so and without receiving a complaint, investigate any matter that appears to it to indicate that a member of the Garda Síochána may have ( a)committed an offence, or ( b) behaved in a manner that would justify disciplinary proceedings.

 "The Commission is concerned about the reports in the media and the apparent lack of security that these reports suggest.

"The Commission is of the view that an independent investigation is necessary to ensure public confidence in the civilian oversight of policing in a time of increased armed gardaí in Dublin city in particular.

 "GSOC is appealing for witnesses to the incident to contact us a 1890 600 800 or DM us @GardaOmbudsman or email info@gsoc.ie."

Earlier today, it emerged officers from an elite Garda anti-terrorist unit carried out a frantic search of Dublin City Centre after a machine gun and a large cache of ammunition fell out of the boot of their unmarked car.

The officers were in an Audi A6 estate, which was one of three vehicles leaving in convoy from an underground car park at the force’s Dublin regional headquarters at Harcourt Square when the incident took place.

The Audi had to travel over a ramp as it passed a security ramp at the complex.

As the car pulled out into heavy traffic on Harcourt Street two of the emergency response unit discovered that the boot had opened.

They spotted an official bag carrying the MP7 weapon and hundreds of rounds of ammunition had fallen out of the boot.

Officers saw a woman picking up the bag and walking away.

But by the time the driver managed to turn the car in traffic, the woman had disappeared.

Gardai frantically searched the immediate area and also checked with Pearse Street and Kevin Street stations.

It was later established that the woman had jumped on a Luas and shortly afterwards handed in the bag at Store Street station.

Gardai said today that the bag had fallen out of the car at 5.30pm yesterday evening and was handed in 25 minutes later at 5.55pm.

After initial reports suggested the gun was fully-loaded, it is understood the gun was not loaded at the time and nothing was taken from the bag.

Officers said the members of the unit were going out on routine patrol in the city centre at the time of the incident.

Initial inquiries have already been started to establish how the bag with the weapon and ammunition fell out of the car.

Engineers from Audi have also been called in to examine the closing mechanism on the boot of the A6.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said he was extremely concerned by the incident.

The garda investigation into the incident will also look at security issues raised by yesterday evening's incident.

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