TWO BRAVE gardai who were shot at point blank range last January have returned to work.
Sergeant Deborah Marsh and Garda Gerry Brassil were conducting a routine checkpoint outside Newport when a Limerick man fired up to seven shots at the unarmed officers before turning the weapon on himself.
At the time one garda told the Limerick Leader, “Only for the grace of God and their heroic actions we would be marching behind a hearse. It’s a miracle.”
When Garda Brassil approached the van the man grabbed a double barrelled shotgun and pointed it at the officer.
The garda managed to push the barrel of the gun away from his head as a shot was discharged. A struggle took place as Garda Brassil wrestled with the man to disarm him.
Sgt Marsh rushed to her colleague’s aid and pepper sprayed the man.
A second gunshot was fired through the roof of the van as the struggle continued before Garda Brassil gained control of the shotgun.
The man then produced a rifle and pointed it towards Sgt Marsh. Another shot was discharged, but the sergeant escaped injury.
The officers sprinted for cover. The patrol car was hit at least four times. The man then discharged a final shot - wounding himself fatally in the head.
Both gardai suffered injuries, as well as mental trauma.
Local councillor, John “Rocky” McGrath, said in what other job would you be doing your normal work and suddenly come under fire.
“They are two fine gardai and we are delighted to have them back. In these times with all the cutbacks the people of Newport are delighted to welcome them back again. It just shows their dedication,” said Cllr McGrath.
Fianna Fail Justice spokesperson, Niall Collins, said the garda have shown great commitment and dedication.
“It is great to know that they are back fulfilling their role on behalf of the people of Newport and surrounding areas.
“They showed extreme bravery during the incident and I’m sure they will come in for consideration for the Scott medal,” said Mr Collins. Cllr McGrath echoed this.
“Definitely they should receive medals for bravery. What they did was unbelievable and thank God they weren’t injured,” said Cllr McGrath.