Two senior gardaí were sacked today following a drunken brawl while on armed protection at the United States Embassy in Dublin.
The men, who have served with An Garda Siochana for 15 and 20 years, were armed with handguns when they started drinking in a pub during a 12-hour shift outside the embassy.
The uniformed officers, who had been transferred temporarily into plain clothes to man the security post in the leafy suburb of Ballsbridge in south side the city, then rowed over whose round it was.
The men – carrying standard Smith and Wesson guns – were separated and returned to the Embassy where they continued to fight in front of civilian security and US marines who were on security duty inside the compound.
One then left his shift early and drove home drunk.
Last month, the results of a damming internal inquiry were handed to Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy recommending that both men either resign or be sacked.
“Please be advised that following due process and an internal investigation, the two Garda members involved in the above incident have been dismissed by the Garda Commissioner,” said a spokesman.
“Both officers are now entitled to avail of the statutory appeals procedure and no further comment can be made pending the outcome of those proceedings, if commenced.”
The two gardaí, based at a south central city station, were suspended from the force following the incident in June 2005.
It is understood that during their shift the men left their post and went to Paddy Cullen's bar where they drunk until the early hours of the morning.
At around 5am one of the officers decided to go home – two hours before his shift ended – and handed his weapon to the uniform guard on duty.
Around 20 minutes later, as he drove home, he was stopped by officers at Ballymun on the north side of the city.
The former garda has since been convicted of drink driving.
His firearm was returned to his garda station by the colleague when the shift ended at 7am.
The disgraced officers faced numerous breaches of discipline, and were found guilty on each account.
Abandoning a post, drinking on duty and brawling in public are all serious offences in the Garda discipline code.
Following the incident, the Department of Justice apologised to the American Ambassador to Ireland for the serious security breach at what is regarded as the city’s most high-risk target for foreign terrorist attack.