Hero garda Ciaran Jones was honoured yesterday when the bridge where he lost his life saving others was renamed after him.
The 24-year-old garda was swept away when he went to warn motorists of an overflowing bridge during the worst rainstorm to hit the east coast in living memory last October.
At a solemn ceremony attended by family, friends, and colleagues, Ballysmuttan Bridge was renamed Ciaran Jones Bridge.
The bridge is just a couple of hundred yards from his family home and is near the village of Manor Kilbride, where Garda Jones played in the local GAA football team since he was 10 years old.
On the evening of Oct 24, Garda Jones, who was off duty at the time, walked from his home to the bridge to alert motorists. He was washed away in the torrent and found after a major search the next morning.
It emerged yesterday that Garda Jones had been rostered to work between 2pm and 10pm at Stepaside Garda Station that day, and had he done the shift, he would not have been in the area at the time.
However, he had to attend a court case in Dublin City that morning and had returned home early.
“It’s tragic, it’s one of those things,” said Inspector Pat Flynn, his commanding officer yesterday.
Inspector Flynn said Garda Jones had achieved a “milestone” in his career just two days before his tragic death, when he got his “driving duties” — permission to drive a patrol car.
“He was absolutely delighted with that. Not everyone gets to drive a patrol car. He got it because he was so steady and so reliable,” Inspector Flynn said. “He was in the process of making a very good career.”
Inspector Flynn said he joined gardaí, mountain rescue teams, defence force members and locals in the search. “That river would be a trickle normally, but it was a raging torrent that night.”
He said there was “terrible shock” when the body was recovered: “It was expected in some way, but it did not alleviate the shock, the finality of it.”
The ceremony was attended by Garda Jones’ parents, John and Brenda, siblings Michelle and Alan, and his girlfriend Clare Kennedy. Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan led representations from the force.
On Saturday, in Dublin Castle, Garda Jones will be added to the Garda Roll of Honour.
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