Alert at Mountjoy Prison as ‘airsoft guns’ found

Van driver arrested after cache of replica guns discovered during routine jail search

A security alert has occurred at Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, after a bag of replica firearms was found in a van being driven into the prison.

One man has been arrested and taken away for questioning.

However, a line of inquiry is that the man is an airsoft enthusiast and the replicas are airsoft weapons.

Airsoft is a legal and competitive shooting game involving the use of non-lethal, or replica, firearms.


The man was driving into the prison campus on Dublin's North Circular Road and had surrendered his phone to staff at the gate, as all visitors must.

When his van was checked by staff a bag of what the prison officers believed were guns was discovered in the vehicle.

Armed officers

A security alert immediately swung into action and gardaí were alerted.

A number of gardaí, including armed officers, rushed to the scene and the man, who was on his way into the prison to work, was arrested.

He has claimed he is an airsoft enthusiast and that bringing what appeared to be guns into a prison campus was a mistake.

The guns have been taken away for examination by gardaí. And the man, a contractor whose company regularly works in prisons, remains in Garda custody.

Gardaí were interviewing him about the incident, the origins of the airsoft weapons and his connections to the sport. A security check – performed on all contractors visiting jails to work – will again be applied to him.

The Irish Prison Service said it was aware of an incident and was investigating but declined to comment further for now.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times