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Gsoc investigation under way into 'unintentional discharge' of Garda’s firearm

Sources said the incident occurred on the grounds of Mayorstone Park Garda Station last July.

Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

THE OFFICE OF the Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission has begun a formal investigation into what it called an “unintentional discharge of a firearm” which resulted in a Garda being shot in the ankle while they were in a patrol car.

Sources said the incident occurred on the grounds of Mayorstone Park Garda Station, on Thursday, 18 July last.

The injured officer is attached to the garda Armed Support Unit (ASU) and they underwent surgery on their ankle.

When asked to clarify it had begun an investigation, a Gsoc spokesperson replied: “Gsoc can confirm it is investigating the unintentional discharge of a firearm received from the Garda Síochána under section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005.”

The spokesperson added: “This investigation is ongoing at this time and Gsoc will not be making any further comment.”

Sources said they believed the firearm accidentally discharged inside the Garda’s patrol car while it was parked at the Garda station.

The exact circumstances surrounding the incident however, as yet, remain unclear.

The Garda’s superiors immediately “referred” the matter to Gsoc, which confirmed last July that it had “received a referral to an incident”.

Sources said the bullet that struck the Garda was discovered resting inside a patrol car, near the footwell of the vehicle.

Forensic officers recovered and removed the spent shell for a technical examination.

Sources said the Garda injured in the shooting is “a very respected” and very experienced in using firearms.

The ASU when it was the RSU (Regional Support Unit) was previously armed with UZI machine guns but these were decommissioned in favour of the MP7 submachine gun.

“The Uzis were taken out and the mp7s brought in because they were deemed to be better and safer.”

“The ASU in Limerick were instrumental in solving the gang feud. They are an absolute credit to the force and the gangs are terrified of them,” one source said.

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“They are highly trained and highly thought of by everyone in the force, and they have high standards to maintain. They’re a brilliant asset, super operators,” they added.

ASU members are an elite garda unit and undergo continuous assessment and training in firing their licensed firearms. They undergo training at a firing range every month and they are tested physically and mentally every six months.

Each ASU member is armed with lethal weapons including, a personal Sig Sauer P226 9mm self-loading pistol, as well as a Heckler & Koch MP7 submachine gun, which can fire up to forty rounds in approximately 3.5 seconds. They also carry a Benelli M4 Super 90 semi-automatic shotgun in their patrol cars.

An assortment of non-lethal weapons including, tasers, pepper spray, and rubber bullets are also utilized by the unit.

Their Volvo V70 and Audi Q7 patrol vehicles can travel at a top speed of 280km/h.

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David Raleigh

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