Bridge renamed in honour of garda swept away in flood
THERE was pride and pain in equal measure yesterday when a bridge was renamed after a heroic garda swept away in a winter flood while protecting people.
Garda Ciaran Jones (24) was off-duty and battling severe weather last October when he was killed trying to warn people away from Ballysmuttan Bridge, near his home in Manor Kilbride, Co Wicklow.
Yesterday the brave garda was honoured as the bridge was officially renamed the Ciaran Jones Bridge.
"We are all very proud of him -- it's a great homage for Ciaran," his girlfriend Clare Kennedy said following the ceremony yesterday.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said it was a day of mixed emotions for family and friends of the young garda -- a day of huge pride but also a day of loss and sadness.
"I earnestly hope the memories of happy moments that you shared together will be of solace to you," he said.
Local councillor Jim Ruttle, who was instrumental in having the bridge renamed, said that Garda Jones was a man with a "spirit of service to others".
A letter from Justice Minister Alan Shatter was also read out, in which he regretted not being able to be there in person.
A plaque was unveiled on the bridge which was inscribed to remind passersby that Garda Jones, who is also known as 'The Pride of Kilbride', was as courageous in life as he was on the night he died.
His mother Brenda, father John, siblings Michelle and Alan and his girlfriend were given the honours of being the first to cross the renamed bridge.
There were tears among the crowd when songs were sung in memory of Garda Jones and people took turns to throw flowers into the River Liffey below.
Among the crowed was Shane Carty, who was helping his friend to warn people away from the bridge on the fatal night.
He was remembered for his skill on the football field and the time he led Kilbride to victory in the county final.