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Criminal probe after gardaí seize shotgun for second time

A shotgun that was supposed to be in the possession of gardaí since 2009 was seized for a second time last year during an operation into a feud between two organised crime groups.

A criminal investigation is now under way to discover how the gun left the control of gardaí and went into the possession of individuals charged with firearm offences.

“In mid-2023, as part of an operation into a feud between two criminal gangs, a firearm was seized in the midlands and two males arrested and subsequently charged with firearm offences,” gardaí said in a statement.

A spokesperson added: “Two days later, following examination of the firearms, the senior investigating officer found that one of the firearms – a pump-action shotgun – had previously been seized by gardaí in the east of the country in 2009 and records showed that it was supposed to be still in possession of gardaí.”

Within a week of the shotgun being seized for the second time a criminal investigation was launched, which gardaí have said is in its “latter stages” as a “substantial number of enquiries have been completed”.

Gardaí said the shotgun had originally been stolen in a burglary in 2004 and was recovered by them during a search of a premises under warrant in the east of the country in 2009.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has provided a report on the incident to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and the Policing Authority and is keeping them informed of developments.

“There has been significant recent public comment, including by Commissioner Harris, on the critical importance of the proper control and recording of evidential material in An Garda Síochána’s possession,” a spokesperson said.

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