A RETIRED detective who prayed over the body of a colleague shot down in a gun battle has been awarded €150,000 damages at a garda compensation hearing.
Michael McMahon (67) of Ryevale Lawns, Leixlip, Co Kildare, told Ms Justice Mary Irvine that he suffered trauma and psychological injuries after having seen Garda Patrick Reynolds shot dead on February 20, 1982.
Barrister Michael Byrne, who appeared for Mr McMahon, said that following the shooting at Avonbeg Gardens Flats, Tallaght, Mr McMahon had continued his work in An Garda Siochana.
Former detective McMahon told the court that as the result of an anonymous phone call to Tallaght garda station about suspicious activity in the flats, he and four other gardai went there in a squad car.
He said Gda Reynolds and Sergeant Patrick O'Brien had sealed off the rear of the flats while he and Gda Thomas Quinn went to a flat on the second balcony.
Seconds later, he heard sounds from the bathroom and found a number of his colleagues engaged in a violent struggle. "I tried to force my way into the bathroom and was unable to do so but I saw a sub-machine gun lying on the floor inside and tried to reach it," he said. "I was unable to do so because of the number of men struggling inside."
He ran to the patrol car to call for armed assistance but found the car locked.
"I heard two shots and called over a hand-held radio for urgent assistance, reporting that shots were being fired," he said.
"I saw Gda Reynolds run towards the road. There were at least two more gunshots from the balcony over my head and Gda Reynolds fell to the ground."
He shouted that Gda Reynolds had been shot and saw a car drive at speed from the flats on to Avonbeg Road.
"I ran to Gda Reynolds, who was lying face down with blood coming out of his mouth.
"I got down on my knees and said a prayer for him," he said.
Judge Irvine said she accepted Detective McMahon had seen Gda Reynolds shot and fall and had tended him on the ground.
She awarded him €150,000 damages against the State for a 20-year psychological injury caused maliciously by the recklessness of the gunman who had shot down Gda Reynolds.