"A matter of grave concern" - Minister Charlie Flanagan on submachine gun incident in Dublin city centre
"Clearly something went wrong, something happened here that shouldn't have happened."
Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has described the incident which saw a fully-loaded submachine gun discovered by a member of the public as "a matter of grave concern."
The weapon fell out of a Garda car in Dublin city centre on Tuesday before being handed into Store Street Garda station at approximately 6pm.
Speaking on Today with Miriam on RTÉ Radio 1, Minister Flanagan noted that he was informed of the incident on Tuesday evening and praised the "very civic-minded citizen" who gave the submachine gun in to the authorities.
"I'm very pleased that any danger was averted," said Flanagan.
"The issue is currently the subject matter of an investigation by a Chief Superintendent," he continued.
"It is a matter of grave concern. I'm very concerned about the issue; how it might have happened, how it did happen. I'm looking forward to an early report, but clearly something went wrong, something happened here that shouldn't have happened."
Moving on to other matters, Minister Flanagan discussed the possibility of a presidential election, following the news that President Michael D. Higgins intends to run for a second term.
Flanagan campaigned against the President during the last election, but stated that he is on record in supporting his "excellence" over the past seven years, particularly highlighting his connection with and influence on young Irish people.
Asked if Fine Gael would consider financially supporting the President's bid for a second term, Flanagan offered an even-handed response.
"These are issues that haven't been discussed by my party," he said. "If we're supporting President Michael D. Higgins I believe we need to do so, other than on the airwaves.
"If there isn't a Fine Gael candidate, I will be actively campaigning in my constituency and beyond for Michael D. Higgins, who has been an excellent President, and I wish him all the best in his campaign."