Bravery medals awarded to gardaí who responded to man firing rifle in Donegal town

By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Bravery medals have been awarded to four serving gardaí who responded to a man who fired shots indiscriminately in a Co Donegal town in February 2020.

They are among the 11 recipients of the Scott Medal, the highest award the Garda Commissioner can bestow, at a ceremony held in Dublin on Friday.

Sergeant Edward Griffin, Detective Garda Darren Carter, Detective Garda Enda Jennings and Garda Louis Browne were awarded Silver Scott Medals for their bravery in apprehending the man armed with a high-powered rifle and who fired at homes, cars and gardaí in the Glenties in Co Donegal on the night in question.

The man was convicted and received a custodial sentence.

A gold bravery medal was awarded posthumously to Inspector Sam Donegan, who was killed in June 1972 after responding to suspect devices along the Cavan-Fermanagh border.

He had assessed one device as a hoax before the second detonated as he examined it.

Silver bravery medals were awarded to three gardaí who apprehended an armed man in a bathroom in Ballymun, Dublin in March 2019.

When Sergeant Andrew O’Connor, Detective Garda Niall Minnock and Garda Conor Garland arrived at the scene in Poppintree, Ballymun, they saw a man holding what appeared to be a black sub machine gun, before he ran into a house and into the bathroom.

Gardaí followed him to the house, and the man fired shots from the bathroom before he was apprehended and the firearm was safely recovered.

Gardaí then saw a black grenade on the floor of the bathroom; a Defence Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit examined it before carrying out a controlled explosion.

The man has been charged and convicted.

A bronze medal was posthumously awarded to Sergeant Daniel Kelleher, who was shot during gardaí’s response to the abduction of businessman Don Tidey in December 1983.

Mr Tidey was in his 23rd day of captivity when Garda members and army personnel carried out a search of Drumcroman Wood in Co Leitrim and an IRA hideout was discovered.

Detective Garda Kelleher provided armed cover to Gardai who were escorting Mr Tidey to safety.

As he did, a car approached him at high speed and a number of shots were fired by the occupants of the car, resulting him being shot and injured in both legs.

Bronze bravery medals were also awarded to Sergeant PJ Gallagher and Garda Thomas McGuiness for their bravery during their abduction in October 1983.

They were on patrol in Aughamore Far, Co Sligo when they came across a number of vehicles parked in a rural layby late at night, which was unusual.

The two gardaí were approached by armed men and bundled into two vehicles before being moved to a second hijacked car and driven to Kilnaleck, Co Cavan where the car was abandoned.

They then released themselves from the boot of the car and raised the alarm.