THE government is facing embarrassment over US/Irish security links after a confidential military report confirmed that American marines left behind potentially dangerous tear-gas canisters after conducting riot training at the Curragh.

The tear-gas canisters were subsequently discovered last year by civilians walking in the area.

Defence minister Michael Smith confirmed this weekend that army authorities have now completed an investigation into the incident which has been carried out by military police over the last 10 months.

It is understood that the report has concluded that while the tear gas was left behind by US marines, the training at the Curragh was being supervised by Irish military personnel.

The Sunday Tribune has learned that the report points out that an Irish army officer was in charge of monitoring the range at the time the incident occured.

The Department of Defence this weekend claimed full responsiblity for the incident.

The controversy over the incident revealed for the first time the links between the marines based at the US embassy and the Irish defence forces. It is understood that the US marines have been training at the Curragh with the permission of the Irish government for the past five years. However, it had remained a well-guarded secret until the incident.

The confirmation of the findings of the report into the incident comes as the government prepares to host hundreds of US secret service and military personnel in the week ahead to guard President George Bush on his visit to Ireland next weekend.

"The Curragh is our responsibility and what happens there is solely our responsibility, " a spokesman for the Department of Defence told the Sunday Tribune.