Tuesday 21 May 2019

Flanagan's personal tribute to Garda murdered by IRA

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Tom Burke

Daire Courtney

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has paid tribute to a Garda murdered by the IRA 40 years ago.

The cowardly attack on Gardaí resulted in the death of Michael Clerkin, who was 24 at the time, and left Tom Peters blind and deaf and three others with long-term injuries.

There are now calls for Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan and the Government to recognise the actions of Gardaí.

Gardaí Michael Clerkin, Jim Cannon, Tom Peters, Ben Thornton and Gerry Boyhan went to Galvin's vacant house in Garryhinch on the night of October 16, 1976 to investigate an anonymous call claiming there were IRA men in the house planning an attack on Oliver J Flanagan, a TD at the time and the father of the present day Foreign Affairs Minister.

The house had been booby trapped and the resulting explosion killed Michael Clerkin instantly.

No one was ever convicted for the murder.

Mr Flanagan has recalled their bravery in defending his family.

"40 years ago Garda Michael Clerkin was murdered by IRA terrorists and four Garda colleagues were injured protecting me and my family. We will never forget," he said.

Mr Cannon has called for the gardaí to be awarded Scott medals for bravery.

"The suffering of all survivors, particularly Tom Peters, is unimaginable. I've been in constant pain ever since that day," Sergeant Cannon said.

"If Tom Peters had a medal in his hand, it would mean something," he added.

"He can't see or hear (as a result of the bomb) but he could have a medal - of course it is not too late yet - if they do the decent thing and award the Scott Medal."

Peter Clerkin, the late Michael Clerkin's brother, haqs also called for more recognition for the gardaí involved.

Irish Independent

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