McEntee condemns 'abhorrent' attacks on gardaí as those who died in line of duty are remembered

McEntee condemns 'abhorrent' attacks on gardaí as those who died in line of duty are remembered

HELEN McENTEE has condemned attacks on gardaí after claiming the force is having to deal with new challenges in Irish society.

The Minister for Justice was speaking at Saturday's Garda Memorial Day, which honoured the 89 gardaí who have died in the service of the State.

Joined by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and PSNI Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, Ms McEntee described attacks on gardaí as attacks against society.

Relatives of gardaí at Saturday’s memorial (Image: Leah Farrell/

"I know that I am joined by everyone in this country who values our freedom and our democratic rights when I condemn, utterly and completely, any abhorrent attacks on gardaí," she said.

"Any such attack represents an attack on our whole community, and an attempt to undermine and destroy our society.

"It is an attack on our very democracy, and our fundamental rights."

'Indescribable loss'

Honouring the 89 gardaí that have lost their lives, Ms McEntee spoke of her pride at their courage and sacrifice.

"Behind each of those 89 was a person with their own background, their own reason for joining the guards, their own hopes and dreams for the future which were cruelly taken from them," she said.

"We recognise the sadness and deep loss experienced by their loved ones.

Ms McEntee with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at the memorial to honour the 89 members of An Garda Síochána who died in the line of duty (Image: Leah Farrell/

"Each tragic death leaves a void in the lives of each family that lingers on long after the event itself.

"I know that colleagues are often left with an indescribable sense of loss, the extent of which very few can ever fully understand.

"Today we take pride in the courage of those who sacrificed so much."

'Great hope'

Ms McEntee added that the country has changed in recent years and An Garda Síochána faces new challenges.

In particular, she condemned 'acts of violence and intimidation, carried out by a tiny, criminal minority…targeted first and foremost at some of the most vulnerable people in our society'.

"As we look towards the future for our country, and for An Garda Síochána, we know that there are many great challenges ahead," she added.

"But there is great hope as well. This hope is grounded in the certainty of what came before.

Gardaí carry wreaths during the memorial event (Image: Leah Farrell/

"These are not the first challenges we have faced, as a society and a nation, nor will they be the last.

"For a century of our country's existence, gardaí, including those we remember today with great sadness, but also with great pride, have stood watch against such threats.

"I know that I take great comfort in the steadfastness of An Garda Síochána.

"I know that all those who value freedom, safety, and community, do so as well."