A massive security alert was sparked at a hospital in the east of the country over the weekend, when a man was arrested in possession of a suspected handgun and ammunition.
The "terrifying" incident occurred at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth, on Saturday afternoon.
Armed gardai rushed to the scene after receiving reports of a man armed with an apparent firearm and ammunition having presented at the Emergency Department.
He was also in possession of a small quantity of cannabis resin. The security alert occurred shortly before 4pm.
A nurse working in the hospital noticed what appeared to be a firearm on the man, and in turn notified a female garda, who happened to be in the medical facility at the time.
The 31-year-old man was arrested and taken to Drogheda Garda Station.
He has since been released without charge and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. Gardai are currently attempting to establish if the handgun seized is a functioning firearm.
Two bullets were also seized and the weapon has been sent for ballistic examination.
It is being probed if the firearm was originally a replica handgun that has since been adapted to fire ammunition.
The arrested man is a local criminal who is well known to gardai.
No staff or members of the public were threatened during the incident and no injuries were incurred.
However, a source last night described the incident as "extremely terrifying" for the people who were in the Emergency Department at the time.