A RETIRED detective, who prayed over the body of a murdered colleague shot down in front of him in a Tallaght gun battle, has been awarded €150,000 damages at a garda compensation hearing in the High Court.
Michael McMahon (67) of Ryevale Lawns, Leixlip, Co Kildare, told Ms Justice Mary Irvine that he suffered trauma and psychological injuries after having seen Garda Patrick Reynolds shot dead by the INLA on February 20, 1982.
Barrister Michael Byrne SC who appeared with Pat Purcell for Mr McMahon, said the former garda had developed post traumatic stress disorder following the shooting at Avonbeg Gardens Flats.
While continuing in his work in the Garda Síochána he had developed a dependency on alcohol that led to the temporary break-up of his marriage and his developing epilepsy.
Mr McMahon told the court that as the result of an anonymous phone call to Tallaght garda station about suspicious activity in the flats he and four other gardai went there in a squad car.
He said Garda Reynolds and Sgt Patrick O'Brien had sealed off the rear of the flats while he and Garda Thomas Quinn went to a flat on the second balcony.
They had shouted out they were gardai and entered a flat. Mr McMahon heard sounds from the bathroom and found a number of his colleagues engaged in a violent struggle.
He later ran to the patrol car to call for armed assistance but found the car locked.
"I heard two shots and called over a hand held radio for urgent assistance, reporting that shots were being fired," he said. "I saw Garda Reynolds run towards the road.
There were at least two more gunshots from the balcony over my head and Garda Reynolds fell to the ground.
"I ran to Garda Reynolds who was lying face down with blood coming out of his mouth. I got down on my knees and said a prayer for him." Mr McMahon told Mr Byrne he accompanied his colleague to hospital. A doctor told him Garda Reynolds was dead on arrival.
Judge Irvine said she accepted Mr McMahon had seen Garda Reynolds shot and had tended him on the ground.
She awarded him €150,000 damages against the State for a 20-year psychological injury caused maliciously by the recklessness of the gunman who had shot down Garda Reynolds.