A soldier is under investigation after a rifle was discharged during a prisoner escort convoy to Portlaoise Prison.
Independent.ie has learned that the Defence Forces are carrying out inquiries into the incident as the army convoy made its way to Ireland’s maximum security prison.
It is understood that the rifle was accidentally discharged at a filling station, before the prisoner had been collected from the jail.
The incident happened on Wednesday this week.
Sources said that the firearm was facing downwards in a military vehicle when it went off, firing a single shot into the floor.
A spokesman for the Defence Force said: “All members of Óglaigh na hÉireann are subject to the highest standards of weapons handling throughout their careers both at home and abroad.
“Prior to commencing a prisoner escort, there was a weapon discharged by one of the personnel on duty. Breaches of procedure and safety in relation to firearms are investigated as a matter of course, with disciplinary action being taken where warranted.”
Defence Force members provide a permanent armed guard at Portaloise jail, Ireland’s only maximum security prison, as well as the Central Bank.
Last year its members were involved in close to 200 operations supporting gardai which included bomb disposal call-outs and prisoner escorts.