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Gun found hidden in tree as children hunt Easter eggs

A HIDDEN shotgun was found in a tree by parents who were accompanying children on a fundraising Easter egg hunt.

Gardai confirmed that a firearm was found during the event at Mile Mill just outside of Kilcullen, Co Kildare.

Brannockstown NS organised the annual fundraising hunt and a walk for 60 school children on Sunday.

However, parents were shocked when a shotgun was discovered along the trail and alerted gardai.

The youngsters had been searching the trees for hidden chocolate eggs at the Green Avenue in Gilltown when the discovery was made. They had earlier taken part in a sponsored walk from Markey's The Stray Inn pub.

Officers attended and seized the firearm before taking it away for a forensic examination after 2pm. It is not known if the gun was loaded or not.

Writing in his Kilcullen blog, local man Brian Byrne said: "The weapon was in a black plastic bag which had been placed in the back of the tree about halfway down the Green Avenue. It was badly rusted, and the stock was very weathered but the plastic bag was quite modern."

Mr Byrne added: "It appeared to be a fairly old weapon, a breech-loader pitted with a considerable degree of rust. The wooden stock was also very weathered, but did have an X-patterned recoil pad on the end of the butt, suggesting it had been useable in modern times. The trigger guard had also been removed, suggesting that it might have been prepared for non-legal use."

Garda Joanne O'Sullivan, who had attended the egg hunt and walk to ensure the group were safe from traffic on the road, recovered the gun from the tree after the parents brought it to her attention.

Jimmy Cahill and Jimmy Duggan were the two parents who noticed the plastic bag in the tree -- and this led them to the gun.

A parent from the nearby Brannockstown area whose two daughters were at the egg hunt said he was "shocked" by the discovery.

"I'd hate to think what could have happened if my child had found it. You think your children are safe going on an Easter egg hunt, it all sounds like harmless fun for a good cause.

"It's unbelievable that something like this could happen but it just goes to show how rampant crime is everywhere nowadays."

The dad-of-two found out about the gun when one of his children phoned him to explain what had happened.

hnews@herald.ie

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