Nicola Golden was presented with the Gold Scott Medal by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan, in a poignant ceremony at the Garda Training College, Templemore, Co Tipperary.
In total, 17 medals for bravery were awarded to serving, retired, and deceased members of the force who, in protecting others, had placed themselves in harm’s way.
Some, such as Tony Golden, paid the ultimate price. He was gunned down in a house in Omeath, Co Louth, while responding to a domestic violence call at the property.
The gunman, Adrian Crevan Mackin, 24, also shot his partner Siobhan Phillips, then aged 22, seriously wounding her, before he turned the gun on himself.
Garda Gerard O’Callaghan, who found his slain colleague inside the house and tried in vain to save Garda Golden’s life, was also presented with a Gold Scott Medal.
It was also a poignant day for Mr Flanagan. He presented five other Gold Scott Medals to gardaí, who heard that the minister’s own father — former defence minister Oliver J Flanagan — was to be assassinated and were blown up in a booby-trap bomb at a house at Garryhinch, Portarlington, in October 1976.
Four out of the five gardaí were seriously injured. The remains of their colleague, Garda Michael Clerkin, were located buried under rubble left by the blast.
One of the survivors, Sergeant Jim Cannon, said: “Michael went in through an open window, and, after less than a minute, he went to open the front door to (us), and the whole building went up. We were trapped under about 6ft of rubble. It was up to our necks. I was badly injured, bleeding from the head and neck, and my legs were all bleeding as well.”
No one was ever charged with the atrocity.
Mr Flanagan said he remembers the events “as if it were yesterday”, adding that the medal ceremony was “deeply personal and poignant”.
He described the plot to murder the five gardaí as “cowardly”.
Of the five brave officers who put their lives on the line, believing his father was to be kidnapped and murdered, Mr Flanagan said: “I have never forgotten their courage and selflessness.”
A total of 211 new gardaí graduated at the ceremony.
Meanwhile, two men were still in Garda custody last night in connection with a drugs raid in which an Emergency Response Unit member was shot and injured.
One man is aged in his forties and was arrested after the incident on Thursday, when gardaí raided a house at Barnwell Drive in Ballymun.
An 18-year-old-man was arrested yesterday morning.
Two women, aged 47 and 24, who had been arrested in connection with the shooting incident, were released yesterday.
The DPP will decide if they should face criminal charges.
Gardaí renewed an appeal for witnesses or people in the area from the night before the incident at 1 Barnwell Drive to contact Ballymun Garda station at 01 6664400 or any other station.
“In particular, we would like to hear from taxi drivers or takeaway food outlets who may have delivered to this address or anyone else who may have had reason to call to this address,” said Detective Superintendent Colm Fox.