The Garda Ombudsman (GSOC) has launched an investigation after a loaded Garda sub-machine guns was found on a Dublin street.
The weapon was handed in to Store Street Garda Station in the city centre by a member of the public yesterday.
A senior Garda officer "has been appointed to examine all the circumstances" surrounding the discovery.
The weapon is understood to belong to the armed Garda unit that's policing the ongoing gang feud in Dublin.
Detectives are investigating whether it fell from a moving Garda vehicle.
GSOC, meanwhile, said it is launching its own 'public interest inquiry' into the alleged incident.
The ombudsman said it has not received any notification or referral from An Garda Síochana or complaint from members of the public.
In a statement, GSOC said: "The Commission is concerned about the reports in the media and the apparent lack of security that these reports suggest.
"The Commission is of the view that an independent investigation is necessary to ensure public confidence in the civilian oversight of policing in a time of increased armed gardaí in Dublin city in particular."
Reporting by Mick Staines and Stephen McNeice