Friday 18 October 2019

Two gardai who lost sub-machine gun on Dublin street should not face sanctions - GSOC

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Stock Picture
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

Two detective gardaí who lost a sub-machine gun on a busy Dublin street should not face any sanctions, GSOC has found.

A public interest investigation was launched by the Garda Ombudsman last July after the firearm was found near Harcourt Street in the city centre by a member of the public.

The sub-machine gun was not loaded, and GSOC said that, contrary to reports at the time, the civilian did not travel on the Luas to hand the firearm in at Store Street garda station.

The firearm belonged to gardai attached to an elite national unit based at Harcourt Square.

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) probe was launched following media reports of the incident which occurred on July 10 last year.

They have now ruled that the two detectives at the centre of the probe should not face any disciplinary proceedings.

GSOC investigators used reconstructions of the events relating to the temporary loss of the weapon to assist their inquiry.

The Garda Ombudsman said that, on the balance of probabilities, the car boot in which the unloaded sub-machine gun was placed was closed over when the driver started the car engine.

“But the boot was seen to open as the car went over a ramp,” GSOC said in a statement yesterday.

“The Commission has written to the Garda Commissioner recommending that consideration be given to instruction and/or direction to all members as to how firearms are to be carried in garda vehicles in a safe manner.”

The incident involved members of an armed garda unit, and concerns were raised at the time over a mechanical fault with the Audi jeeps used by the specialist unit.

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 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 handed in at Store Street garda station across the Liffey.

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