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The tragic history of gardai who lost their lives in the line of duty

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Detective Jerry McCabe Photo: LIAM BURKE/PRESS 22

Detective Jerry McCabe Photo: LIAM BURKE/PRESS 22

Detective Jerry McCabe Photo: LIAM BURKE/PRESS 22

The country woke to the horrific news that yet another member of An Garda Síochana had lost their life in the line of duty.

Shortly after midnight last night a highly respected and popular Detective, based in Castlerea, Co Roscommon was shot and killed while responding to a domestic incident.

Horrendous tragedies like this are thankfully rare in Ireland but they cast a long and painful shadow in the communities where they happen.

The murder forty years ago of Garda Henry Byrne and John Morley, by the IRA is still acutely painful to the people of their hometown in Knock, Co Mayo.

The two distinguished officers were also based in Castlerea station.

To this day their deaths at the hands of brutal IRA criminals who were attempting to flee a bank robbery dark is remembered with sorrow.

Last night’s tragedy brings to 89 the number of gardaí who have died while on active duty.

At least 30 members of the force were either shot or met their end violently.

Garda Tony Golden, Omeath, Co Louth 2015

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Garda Tony Golden who was murdered in Omeath in October 2015

Garda Tony Golden who was murdered in Omeath in October 2015

Garda Tony Golden who was murdered in Omeath in October 2015


Garda Golden, (36) was shot by dissident republican Adrian Crevan Mackin at a house on the Mullach Álainn estate just outside the village of Omeath, Co Louth, on October 11th, 2015.

Golden had also been responding to a domestic incident when he was brutally murdered.

Garda Golden was trying to bring his killers partner to a place of safety after she was very badly beaten the previous day. He was posthumously awarded the Scott Medal, the highest possible award for bravery in the Gardai.


Adrian Donohoe, Dundalk, Co Louth, 2013

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Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe


Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was shot dead in Bellurgan on January 25th, 2013.

The father of three, who was in his 40s, was shot by a member of an armed gang attempting to rob Lordship Credit Union.


Andrew Callanan, Tallaght, Dublin, 1999

The father of three died after he was doused in petrol and set alight.

Daniel O’Toole entered the Tallaght Garda station and poured petrol over himself and as Sgt Callanan attempted to assist and disarm threw petrol at him and set it alight.

The garda later died from his injuries.


Jerry McCabe, Adare, Co Limerick, 1996

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The late Detective Garda Jerry McCabe

The late Detective Garda Jerry McCabe

The late Detective Garda Jerry McCabe


Det Sgt Garda McCabe and colleague, Det Garda Ben O’Sullivan, were escorting a post office truck during a cash delivery in Adare, Co Limerick.

Their patrol was crashed into by a car driven by members of the IRA. Within seconds, other gang members opened fire killing Det Garda McCabe instantly and seriously wounding his colleague seriously wounded.


Sergeant Paddy Morrissey, Ardee, Co Louth, 1987

Sgt Morrissey (27) was shot dead on June 27, 1985, when he went after two men who had robbed Ardee Labour Exchange in Co Louth.

Detective Garda Frank Hand was shot and killed Drumree, Co Meath, 1984.

Eight months earlier Garda recruit Gary Sheehan (23) was shot dead during the search for Don Tidey.


Patrick McLoughlin, Dunboyne, 1983

Sgt Patrick McLoughlin was asleep in the early hours of April 11th, 1983, when he heard a knock on the door of Dunboyne Garda station.

He opened the upstairs window to see who was there. He was shot and died later from his injuries.


Patrick Reynolds, Roscommon, 1982

Garda Patrick Reynolds (24) from Boyle in Co Roscommon was stationed at Tallaght when he was killed in 1982.

On February 28 that year Garda Reynolds, a motorcycle garda, went to investigate stolen property in a house in Tallaght and was shot in the head and back in a scuffle when he and colleagues, attempted to arrest three people.

Most of those killed were involved in road traffic incidents or died while trying to rescue others.

Online Editors