An armed garda, who risked his life to foil a post office robbery by a gunman and two criminal associates, was today awarded just under €37,500 damages for injuries he suffered at the scene.
Detective Garda Patrick J. Carey, who is attached to a special anti-crime squad at Dublin Castle, faced down a robber who pointed a sawn-off shotgun at him before throwing it to the ground when repeatedly challenged.
He told his counsel Brid O’Flaherty that he identified all three of the raiders, one of whom dropped the money they had stolen before running off.
The disarmed gunman and a getaway driver sped off in a stolen car, striking Detective Carey as they fled from the post office in Clogherhead, Co Louth.
All three were eventually arrested and it was Detective Carey’s evidence that had led to their conviction and imprisonment at a later criminal court hearing.
Mr Justice Michael Twomey heard that Detective Carey had been on duty in the Drogheda-Clogherhead area in April 2015 in an unmarked garda car and had called to the Mace Supermarket in Clogherhead for a snack.
He was drinking tea in the official car when he saw in his wing mirror two suspicious men wearing heavy clothing on what was a very sunny Spring day. They were running towards the supermarket which included a post office.
Detective Garda Carey told Ms O’Flaherty, who appeared with Hughes Murphy Solicitors, he suspected one of them was armed and then saw he was carrying a sawn-off shotgun with his finger on the trigger area.
He saw a third man, he also suspected of being armed, exit the getaway car and walk towards the rear of it.
“I realised this was an armed robbery and that I was positioned in the centre of it,” Detective Carey said in a sworn affidavit.
The heroic garda said he had waited for the gunmen to exit the store as he did not want to risk injury to innocent members of the public by challenging them in the store where there were shoppers and staff.
Detective Garda Carey said the man with the double-barrelled, sawn-off shotgun pointed it at him before throwing it away as he faced the garda pointing his official handgun directly at him.
Judge Twomey heard that as the men drove off the getaway car struck Detective Garda Carey on his right leg and side, injuring his ankle and hip.
Judge Twomey said the detective had suffered from psychological injuries as a result of the aftermath of the shotgun having been pointed at him.
He had also suffered from back pain and pain to his ankle. The judge awarded him €35,000 damages with special damages of €2,419.