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Commissioners Speech Garda Memorial Day 18th May 2019

Minister, Colleagues, Families and Friends,

Thank you for joining us in this beautiful setting on the most important day in the calendar for An Garda Síochána.

Also thank you to the band, pipes and choirs for the lovely music to accompany today’s Annual Commemoration, to the Office of Public Works for their constant attention and upkeep of this very important place and a special thanks to Father Joe Kennedy and Archdeacon David Pierpoint.

This is a day when we gather to remember our 88 colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice.

A day when we honour their memories. And commemorate their courage and service.

Gardaí keep the people of Ireland safe every day of the week. They are doing this right now as we gather here in this beautiful place.

But there are other times, thankfully relatively rare times, when they are called to the highest duty – put their lives on the line so others can be safe.

Our 88 colleagues did so, knowing what it could mean for them. For their families. For their friends and colleagues.

That is the definition of bravery.

That is what is required of the men and women of An Garda Síochána.

It is a heavy burden for them and their families.

An even heavier burden for the families and friends of our fallen colleagues.

But is a burden we accept.

Because that is what is required to protect our society and our democracy.

Policing is a calling.

We are drawn to help others.

To protect those who cannot protect themselves.

To keep our communities safe.

To bring to justice those who seek to hurt others.

And that is what our 88 fallen Gardaí exemplify.

So while today is a special day for remembering them, they are never far from our minds every day.

We that serve have a high bar to live up to.

We must live their legacy every day.

We will do this through respect for the people we serve. Through respect for each other.

And respect for the values of An Garda Síochána.
Today is symbolic of those values. And symbols matter.

As we put on our uniforms we recognise that it is more than a piece of clothing.

Just as the Garda badge is not just a logo.
It runs much deeper in that.

They are symbols not only of authority, but also of justice. Of fairness. Of bravery. Of community.

Again, these are the values common to our 88 colleagues.

As we think about service, we should also take the time on this day of reflection to stop and pause. To think about our own lives. Our own loved ones.

If you need help or support during a difficult time we are here for you. Please reach out, the support is there.
Likewise, we are always here for the families. They are so proud that their loved one wore the Garda uniform. But with that pride comes inevitable sadness at the great loss they have suffered.

We will never forget the vital contribution they have made – and the contribution made by all Garda families – to policing in Ireland.

To conclude.

Today is a vital reminder to us all and the wider public of the qualities required to be a member of An Garda Síochána and the role An Garda Síochána plays in society.

It is understandable that we are not always at the forefront of people’s minds as they go about their busy daily lives. That is a good thing. It means we are policing by consent. It means people are reassured that they live in a peaceful, democratic society. It means they trust us.

This trust though cannot be taken for granted and must be worked for each and every day.

Today, we remember the Gardaí who gave their lives to help build and sustain that trust, and by doing so made this country a safer place. That is their great legacy to us.

Thank you

Note to editor: The Garda Roll of Honour is available on our website - https://www.garda.ie/en/About-Us/Our-History/Roll-of-Honour/