Cowen: 'Gardai need support of community'
THE gardai need the "support and consent of the community" if they are to have success, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said at the opening of the official Garda garden of remembrance in Dublin Castle yesterday.
The garden commemorates 83 officers who died in the course of duty, most of whom had never been officially acknowledged.
"The Garda derives its power from the people not only in the legal sense, but also in a very practical way," said Mr Cowen. "In return the people expect a great deal from the gardai."
In 2007 the Sunday Independent pointed out that only gardai who were murdered -- mostly by members of the IRA -- were officially acknowledged on the monument at the gates of the Phoenix Park Headquarters. Officers such as the late John Eiffe -- who was killed by a ricochet from a bullet fired by a colleague during a confrontation with armed raiders in the town of Abbeyleix in 2001 -- were not included because they were not murdered.
The most senior officer in the history of the force to die in the course of duty, Chief Superintendent John Gantly, again shot by accident by a colleague during an armed confrontation in Dublin in 1948, was also not acknowledged.
Other police forces around the world commemorate officers killed in the line of duty -- in the United States the term used is "killed in clear and present danger" -- but up until yesterday, the Garda authorities and successive governments had failed to make any changes to the criteria that had been set down for inclusion on the Garda Roll of Honour.