The State’s first official memorial to Garda Siochana members who died while on duty is to be unveiled next month by a local history committee on Co Tipperary.
The Duras Eile Eliogarty Memorial Committee is currently preparing the granite and limestone tribute to the estimated 31 officers who gave up their lives in service to the State.
The monument will be placed in St Mary’s Garden of Remembrance in Thurles which already accommodates five other memorials including one to Thurles men who died in World War I, Irish soldiers who died in the 1960 Niemba Ambush in the Congo and to Tipperary hurling legend Tom Semple.
Last month Defence Minister Willie O’Dea also unveiled a stone monument to Irish soldiers who died on overseas peacekeeping missions since 1958.
The latest 2.1m high and 2.25m wide limestone memorial will feature a centre plaque with the Garda Siochana crest and an inscription currently being approved by Garda HQ in Dublin.
The Committee first tentatively approached Assistant Commissioner for the South Eastern Region, Noel Smith, with the idea last year and he brought it to Garda management.
One of the officers who will be remembered in the memorial is local man, Sgt Andy Callanan who died preventing an arson attack on Tallaght Garda Station in July 1999 and Det Garda Jerry McCabe who died in a botched IRA post office raid in Adare Co Limerick in June 1996.
Both officers received posthumous Scott medals for bravery in 2000.
Committee chairman John Wort, 58, said he was surprised that there had never been a memorial to the 31 garda officers who have died on duty since the 1920s.
“There’s an amount of them doing great work,” he said today.
“You have the odd bad apple but we couldn’t survive without them.
“They should be remembered and honoured like everybody else.”
Founded in 1999, the Duras Eile Eliogarty Memorial Committee takes its name from the Gaelic for Thurles and an old local family, the Eliogartys.
Committee members secured a small plot beside the town’s St Mary’s Church of Ireland building in 2000 and renovated it as a Garden of Remembrance with locally-raised funds.
Garda management, family members of deceased gardaí and PSNI representatives are expected to be invited to the official unveiling next month.