The bizarre incident left airport police “scratching their heads” and has sparked two separate investigations.
It’s understood that the car, which is attached to a specialist unit in the Waterford garda division, was driven by a garda member in the company of other officers to Dublin Airport in recent weeks.
It was then left in the vicinity of the airport while the garda members flew out on holiday.
Gardaí are allowed to leave official cars within assigned areas at Dublin Airport when flying out on official business. In these instances, there is an agreement that the car keys are handed in to Dublin Airport garda station so the cars can be moved or reassigned when necessary.
In this case, the car was not driven to the airport in an official capacity and the car keys were not handed in.
Instead, the car was “essentially abandoned” outside the airport, according to one source.
It is understood that after a couple of days, airport police raised concerns about the presence of the vehicle, and indicated it should be towed.
After officials were notified, An Garda Síochána launched an investigation and the vehicle was removed.
When contacted, garda headquarters declined to comment.
However, it is understood that an internal disciplinary investigation is now under way. The garda member who drove the car and left it without authorisation is due to be questioned, as are his colleagues.
While there is “no particular shortage of garda cars” at present, the incident is still “unacceptable if proven to be true”, a source linked to garda HQ said.
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of garda members who are under internal investigation for alleged wrongdoing, both disciplinary and potentially criminal.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has publicly pledged his commitment to root out misbehaviour and corruption within the force.