Woodland search for missing Trevor 'may take weeks' - gardai
The gun found in derelict council-owned land at Chapelizod in the search for Trevor Deely is undergoing a painstaking examination by forensic experts.
The extensive search of the three-acre woodland site in Dublin for the remains of missing man Mr Deely continued throughout yesterday.
A garda spokesman said last night that digging machinery was doing a significant amount of work at the large site at this point of the search.
A team of forensic anthropologists will be intensifying their work after the machinery has completed its task.
He said the nature of the work meant there was "a limited amount" garda officers could do at this stage.
The planned search of the site would continue "for a number of weeks", he said.
The firearm was located on Tuesday by officers searching the area following a tip-off from an informant.
So far, there has been no trace of the 22-year-old bank employee, who disappeared following his office Christmas Party in 2000.
He was last seen at 4.14am walking in the vicinity of Baggot Street Bridge. It is believed he was on his way home to his flat in Ballsbridge.
Gardai said information that indicated his body had been buried in the site at Chapelizod was being treated as credible.
The finding of the gun could be the most significant development in the case yet.
However, gardai have declined to reveal what type of gun was found. It has not been confirmed whether the weapon is in any way linked to the disappearance of Mr Deely.
A battery of tests was being undertaken on the weapon as the outdoor search continues.
A garda source said officers would "leave no stone unturned" in the huge search operation.
The search area has been divided into four separate zones to facilitate a thorough search at several levels underground.
The search teams have been methodically working their way through the bushes, trees and scrubland as they try to identify a site that may yet be Mr Deely's grave.
Gardai have vowed to pursue the lead and are hopeful it could produce a result.
"This is a line of inquiry that has to be fully pursued until we are satisfied we have made every effort with it, and there is a chance that it could produce a result," said one of the search team this week.
As yet, gardai have had no evidence to confirm that he was murdered. Mr Deely, who worked in the IT section of Bank of Ireland Asset Management, was last seen in the early hours of December 8, 2000, in the Haddington Road area of the city centre.
The last known images of him were captured by a CCTV camera at the junction of Haddington Road and Baggot Street.
A man dressed in black, who gardai believe also spoke to Mr Deely outside his place of work minutes previously, can be seen following him in the direction of Haddington Road.
The footage was only made public earlier this year after a specialist unit, set up in Pearse Street Garda Station to review the case, secured improved CCTV images.
The individual who has given information to gardai has not supplied any motive for the alleged murder.
It has been claimed that he was killed after having an interaction with a criminal on the morning of his disappearance.
It is understood that the source was not influenced by the offer of a €100,000 reward for information.
This has led investigating officers to give extra credibility to the information on which the current searches are based.