THE courage and commitment of our gardai were acknowledged yesterday with the awarding of a number of Scott medals for bravery.
Colleagues, family and friends gathered at the Garda College in Templemore as several proud officers were rewarded for their heroic efforts in the line of duty.
Garda James Hendrick had his bronze Scott medal for bravery pinned to his uniform as he told how he and colleague Garda David Comer were stabbed as they struggled to arrest two house burglars.
And he said he was not seeking any more awards.
"The one Scott medal will do for me," he admitted. "It wasn't the greatest experience and I wouldn't like to do it again."
The two gardai, both based at Howth station in north Dublin, were called out on July 13, 2005, to investigate a suspected break-in at Main Street in Raheny. On entering the house Gda Comer noticed some movement upstairs and on investigating he was attacked by a knife-wielding intruder who was wearing a balaclava.
Gda Comer, who was also awarded a bronze medal yesterday, called out for help; and as the two men grappled in a room, an accomplice stabbed him repeatedly in the back, puncturing a lung and buttocks.
Gda Hendrick, who ran to his colleague's assistance, was stabbed in the chest and arms during the struggle.
But despite his wounds, he dragged his comrade to safety.
Following the incident, stab vests were issued to all gardai.
Detective Garda Donal Tully, from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, was also awarded a bronze medal for tackling and disarming a suspect during the hold-up of bookmaker John Carty as Mr Carty returned from Fairyhouse races on April 17, 2006.
During the robbery by three armed thugs at Deansgrange Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin, a gunman was disarmed by Det Gda Tully despite the fact the robber was aiming his weapon at the detective at the time.
A revolver with live rounds was recovered nearby.
Another bronze winner, Ethel O'Flynn, from Rathmines station in Dublin, chased and caught a knife attacker who had tried to escape on a bicycle after holding the weapon to the throat of a customer in the post office at Harold's Cross on December 18, 2009. Gda O'Flynn arrested the criminal after he got stuck in traffic and she suffered minor injuries in the struggle.
Bronze medals also awarded to Sergeant Niall Coady, of Burnfoot, Donegal; Sergeant John McPhillips, of Muff; Garda Michael Burke, of Burnfoot; and Garda Seamus Marley, of Carrigart after they disarmed two suspects as they held up a bookmaker's office, next door to Muff garda station, on April 4, 2005.
Also picking up bronzes were Detective Garda Alan Lynch, of Ballymun station and Detective Garda Jerome Twomey, of Tallaght, who were off-duty at Westmanstown sports and leisure complex in west Dublin on February 22, 2009, when they tackled two armed men with a hurley and disarmed them.
And two silver medals went to Garda Alan Keane and Garda Bernice Mulderrig, both of Oranmore station, Co Galway, who confronted four men, armed with shotguns and a hatchet after the gardai found them in a house at Lackagh, Turloughmore, on February 15, 2009. Gda Keane was hit on the head with the hatchet but then succeeded in grabbing a loaded shotgun from one suspect; while Gda Mulderrig chased another member of the gang as he made off through a field. All suspects were arrested.