A waste disposal worker collecting a skip from one of the country’s top security jails was arrested today after being found with a gun.
Prison guards at Mountjoy who asked the 32-year-old driver during a routine security check if he was carrying anything prohibited were stunned when he handed over a Walther semi-automatic pistol and two clips of ammunition – about 14 rounds.
Officers immediately called in the Garda who arrested the eastern European man under section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act.
“He handed it over voluntarily – he said, yeah, I have this gun, maybe you want to keep it until I get back out and I can get it back off you,” said one source.
The man who lives in Lucan, west Dublin, told detectives at Mountjoy garda station he has dual Hungarian and Romanian nationality.
It is understood he was working for a firm sub-contracted by Greyhound Waste, which manages refuse for St Patrick’s Institution for young offenders in the prison complex.
Investigating officers believe he brought the gun over from Eastern Europe, and their investigation will also focus on how he smuggled it through security checkpoints into the country.
They are also expected to question bosses at his firm as part of their inquiries.
While the incident at around 10.20am this morning posed a potential serious security breach, both the Garda and prison authorities believe he did not intend to smuggle the firearm into the jail.
“He just handed the prison officers out the gun and the ammunition,” said one prison source.
“If you were trying to smuggle something into a prison you’d be slightly more covert.
“We don’t believe it was intended to smuggle it into the prison. It looks like he just had it for his own personal reasons.”
Prison authorities stressed that at no time was the waste disposal truck, which has been impounded by the Garda for further examination, inside the jail complex.
“The matter is now subject to a Garda investigation,” said a spokesman.