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Speech by Commissioner Drew Harris at the Scott Medal Ceremony in Dublin Castle on 25/8/21.

Minister, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen


It is a privilege to join you all this morning to honour 13 exemplary Gardaí for their most exceptional actions in the execution of their duty.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to the families of our Scott Medal recipients who are here with us.

All of you share a special part in the awards bestowed today.

Because it is you that is there for them every day they leave and come back from home after the toughest of days.

And there are those who sadly gave their lives, but who we honour today posthumously.


This ceremony is an important opportunity to reflect on the contributions of today’s recipients.

By its very nature, the work of An Garda Síochána is dangerous and unpredictable.

Very often, it stretches beyond day-to-day duties.

But there are some who in providing our policing service that manage to go even further.

These are the exceptional few who are awarded the Scott Medal.

Today we recognise you, and your extraordinary courage.


Among this year’s recipients are those that saved the lives of their fellow Gardaí.

Others who put their lives in jeopardy to protect the public in a time of crisis.

And there are those whose names are inscribed on the monument that stands behind me, overlooking this ceremony, who gave the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the State.

Each one is an eternal reminder of An Garda Síochána’s mission to keep people safe.


Since the very first Scott Medal was presented by Col. Scott in 1923, several personal qualities have become closely associated with its recipients.

I would like to take a moment to tell you what those are and why I believe they are commonly held by all those bestowed with this honour.


First, Courage.

Of course, it takes courage and confidence to pursue a career in An Garda Síochána in the first instance.

But while others may grapple to find courage when it matters most, to you it is an innate ability.

It was Aristotle who said, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.”

Courage is cultivated through inspiration too.

And all 13 of today’s recipients inspire our whole organisation to act courageously.

Your valiant actions live on in today’s An Garda Síochána.

 Next, Integrity.

Integrity is a quality that most strive towards.

To do the right thing in all situations.

As a recipient of the Scott Medal you have shown your overarching commitment to preserving justice and keeping the people you serve, safe from harm.

True integrity is a core value of An Garda Síochána.

And as Gardaí, your virtue is absolutely central to our ability to uphold the highest ethical standards and practices in policing in Ireland.


Over time, a misconception has emerged that those who are brave feel no fear in the midst of a life threatening situation or dangerous encounter.

That they are fearless or without panic.

When in fact - real bravery is feeling fear in the very pit of your stomach.

But choosing to resist it.

And despite knowing the risks, proceeding anyway.

This is the true and accurate measure of bravery.

 Lastly, there is Wisdom.

Through your actions you demonstrated your quick intuition.

Your intelligence to confront and sensibly handle hazardous situations.

The actions for which you are being awarded this prestigious medal, will have undoubtedly been traumatic.

And so there is wisdom too in knowing when and how to seek out support.

Whether that is leaning on family and friends, or reaching out to the resources within An Garda Síochána.

Because consistently building on our personal wellbeing and resilience, best honours our profession.


It goes without saying that those being recognised today did not act with valour in search of accolade.

They did so instinctively.

That instinct and all of the other prized qualities that you possess and which I have spoken of, are what has led you to this most prestigious award.

You embody all that it means to be an outstanding member of our police service.


And on behalf of An Garda Síochána, I wish to express my immense gratitude to you all for your inspiration to all of us who serve.


Thank you.

Scott medal Booklet 25 August 2021