Saturday 16 December 2017

Retired Garda calls for recognition for colleagues caught in IRA bombing

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

A retired Garda sergeant has called for the Garda Commissioner and government to recognise the actions of Gardaí who were caught in an IRA bombing which killed one Garda and left four injured.

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

Ahead of an anniversary mass to remember Clerkin in Portarlington, Sergeant Jim Cannon has said that these Gardaí should be given Scott medals.

“The suffering of all survivors, particularly Tom Peters, is unimaginable. I’ve been in constant pain ever since that day,” Sergeant Cannon told Liveline this afternoon.

“There was a plaque unveiled for Michael Clerkin at Portarlington Garda Station in 1984 by Tom Peters. He thought it was a grave injustice that there were no Scott medals awarded.”

Peter Clerkin, the late Michael Clerkin’s brother, also called for more recognition on Liveline this afternoon.

“I think a Scott medal should be given to each and every member of his colleagues; it’s not just Michael. They have all suffered.”

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 they’d received claiming that there were IRA men in the house planning an attack on Oliver J. Flanagan, a TD at the time.

The house had been booby trapped and the resulting explosion killed Michael Clerkin instantly and left the other four under rubble for some time.

No-one was convicted of the bombing, though Sergeant Cannon has no doubt in his mind that it was an IRA attack.

“It was the IRA, I’ve no doubt about it. I’d say the idea was to lure the party of Gardaí to the site.”

The anniversary mass for Michael Clerkin will take place at St Michael’s Church this Saturday, October 15 at three o'clock.

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