DUBLIN, Ireland - An Garda Síochana held its Annual Garda Memorial Day at Dublin Gardens, in Dublin Castle on Saturday.
"This is a day when we gather to remember our 88 colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice," Commissioner Drew Harris told the assembled crowd which included Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.
"A day when we honour their memories. And commemorate their courage and service."
"Gardaí keep the people of Ireland safe every day of the week. They are doing this right now as we gather here in this beautiful place," said the commissioner.
"But there are other times, thankfully relatively rare times, when they are called to the highest duty – put their lives on the line so others can be safe."
"Our 88 colleagues did so, knowing what it could mean for them. For their families. For their friends and colleagues. That is the definition of bravery. That is what is required of the men and women of An Garda Síochána," said Harris.
"It is a heavy burden for them and their families. An even heavier burden for the families and friends of our fallen colleagues. But is a burden we accept. Because that is what is required to protect our society and our democracy."
"Policing is a calling. We are drawn to help others. To protect those who cannot protect themselves. To keep our communities safe. To bring to justice those who seek to hurt others. "And that is what our 88 fallen Gardaí exemplify," Commissioner Harris said.
"So while today is a special day for remembering them, they are never far from our minds every day. We that serve have a high bar to live up to. We must live their legacy every day. We will do this through respect for the people we serve. Through respect for each other. And respect for the values of An Garda Síochána."
"Today is symbolic of those values. And symbols matter. As we put on our uniforms we recognise that it is more than a piece of clothing. Just as the Garda badge is not just a logo. It runs much deeper in that. They are symbols not only of authority, but also of justice. Of fairness. Of bravery. Of community. Again, these are the values common to our 88 colleagues," said Harris.
"As we think about service, we should also take the time on this day of reflection to stop and pause. To think about our own lives. Our own loved ones. If you need help or support during a difficult time we are here for you. Please reach out, the support is there. Likewise, we are always here for the families. They are so proud that their loved one wore the Garda uniform. But with that pride comes inevitable sadness at the great loss they have suffered."
"We will never forget the vital contribution they have made – and the contribution made by all Garda families – to policing in Ireland," Harris said Saturday.
The Garda Roll of Honour is available here.