Garda Joseph Glackin counted himself lucky to be alive as he sat among guests yesterday at Templemore College watching 97 gardaí march past at their graduation.
On receiving a Bronze Scott Medal for bravery, he relived the moment which is every garda’s nightmare: confronting an armed criminal who opens fire.
His life was saved when a bullet was deflected by the torch he was holding.
Garda Gavin Cahill, who was with him at the time also received a medal as did Garda Michael Bolton who was fired on when chasing an armed criminal in another incident.
Garda Glackin, aged 44 and Garda Cahill, aged 36, were together on patrol in Finglas on October 27, 2004, when they confronted an armed gang after they held up a filling station.
As the gang tried to make their getaway, one opened fire, hitting Garda Glackin in the hand.
He recalled yesterday: “I was carrying a torch in my right hand and this deflected the bullet and it hit me in the hand. Only for the torch, it would have hit me in the upper body. Crew from Dublin fire brigade came to the scene and brought me to the Mater Hoispital and I spent a number of days in hospital as plastic surgeons operated to repair tissue and extensive nerve damage to my hand.
“I was treated as an outpatient for several months to get back use and flexibility in my hand.”
His wife, Brid, holding their three-month-old daughter, Laurel, said: “I very proud of him.”
Garda Glackin, admiring his medal, remarked: “It is fantastic. It is a great honour. It is great prestige.”
The couple now live in Co Meath.
Scott Medal recipient Michael Bolton, aged 44, was accompanied by his wife Leta and their daughter, Mia, aged three.
He said: “I started out in Mayorstone in Limerick in 2006 when things were very hot there and you certainly got a good grounding working in places like Moyross.”
When stationed in Malahide in 2012, he gave chase to armed robbers on his pedal bike after a raid at a credit union.
After dismounting his bike he ran after the suspects one of whom fired a shot at him.
On flagging down a passing car, Garda Bolton continued his pursuit of the robbers who, by this stage, had hijacked a car.
Information relayed by Garda Bolton to armed units deployed to the chase led to the arrest of the two armed robbers. All the money was recovered, along with a gun.
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