Garda gun specialist accidentally shoots himself in the foot
An armed garda has been hospitalised after accidentally shooting himself in the foot with his own weapon.
The officer, who is attached to a specialist firearms unit in the south-east of the country, was injured after his gun accidentally discharged.
The garda ombudsman is currently carrying out an examination into the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
The incident happened in the Mayorstone garda district of Limerick on Thursday while the garda was sitting in a marked patrol vehicle. It is understood that the officer's weapon discharged a single bullet, striking the garda in the foot.
He was later hospitalised for non-life threatening injuries.
On Thursday night, a referral was made to the garda ombudsman in relation to the matter, as is standard when a garda's weapon discharges causing injury.
The scene was sealed off to facilitate investigators from the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).
Sources said the officer at the centre of the inquiry had been attached to the firearms unit over the past year and is considered an experienced officer.
Garda headquarters said that, as the matter is under the investigation by the garda ombudsman, any queries should be referred to GSOC.
A spokesman for the garda ombudsman confirmed that it had received a referral in relation to an incident.
"GSOC is not making any further comments at this time," the spokesman added.
The referral was made under Section 102 of the Garda Siochana Act 2005.
The act states that gardai must refer any matter to GSOC that "appears to the Garda Commissioner to indicate that the conduct of a member of the Garda Siochana may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person".
GSOC is currently at an examination phase, which will determine if a thorough investigation will need to be carried out by the ombudsman.
In a separate investigation earlier this year involving members of an armed unit who lost a firearm, GSOC concluded that no disciplinary proceedings should taken against two garda detectives.
Last July, a submachine gun was "temporarily misplaced" after it fell out of the back of a garda vehicle leaving Harcourt Square in Dublin city centre.
The weapon was picked up by a member of the public, who immediately brought it to Store Street Garda Station.
The garda ombudsman said that, on the balance of probabilities, the car boot in which the unloaded submachine gun was placed was closed over when the driver started the car engine.