Investigation into alleged weapons parts theft from Army stores continues

Hundreds of documents examined with report due but no arrests made to date

A report by the Military Police is due to be finalised in the near future for the Defence Forces’ senior leadership and the Department of Defence File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

A report by the Military Police is due to be finalised in the near future for the Defence Forces’ senior leadership and the Department of Defence File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

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The Defence Forces is carrying out an investigation into the alleged theft of weapons components from Army stores.

Military police, with the assistance of the Garda, have been examining the matter for the last several months, The Irish Times understands.

Hundreds of pages of documents have been examined, including the records of weapons and their components being signed out and back in. No arrests have been made to date and inquiries are ongoing.

A report by the Military Police is due to be finalised in the near future for the Defence Forces’ senior leadership and the Department of Defence.

It is understand the Garda became involved on foot of a request by the Defence Forces. Investigations of alleged crimes on military property are typically handled by the Military Police but it has the option of going to the Garda for assistance with serious offences.

A Defence Forces spokeswoman said it “has no comment to make in relation to this matter”.

The Department of Defence did not respond to a request for comment.

The Defence Forces keeps a large array of small arms, ammunition and explosives in stores around the country. These include assault rifles, pistols, grenades and various types of rockets and mortars.

Weapons and weapon parts have gone missing from military bases in the past. Several years ago gardaí found a military issued non-lethal grenade in a house in Kildare during a drugs search.

In 2009, training weapons, including blank rounds of ammunition, flares, training grenades and a pellet gun were stolen from Sarsfield Barracks in Limerick.

In 1973, a high-powered general purpose machineg gun was stolen from Clancy Barracks in Dublin and was believed to have been sold to the Official IRA. The incident resulted in the dishonourable discharge of Military Police Corporal Michael Donnelly.

Mr Donnelly denied any wrongdoing and fought his dismissal as far as the Supreme Court, which eventually ruled against him.

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