Thousands mourn death of popular Limerick garda, 37, as family speak of 'devastating loss'

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

The late Annette Courtney and her husband Gary Ahern

The late Annette Courtney and her husband Gary Ahern

LIMERICK’S most senior garda has described the loss of a colleague as very difficult for the force but, he said, “It could never equate to the pain that her husband and her family are going through”.

The untimely passing of Bruff garda, Annette Ahern (née Courtney) has left her husband, family and gardai heartbroken.

Annette, aged 37, died unexpectedly at her Murroe home just two weeks ago. Originally from Mitchelstown, Annette was looking forward to being a bridesmaid at the wedding of her brother Maurice next month. 

Over 4,500 people paid their respects at her removal in Mitchelstown. Her husband of just one year, Gary Ahern said Annette was “the love of his life”.

Her dad John said he and his wife Brenda have lost a daughter and a best friend. Gardai in the Bruff district say they have lost a sister.

On behalf of all gardai in the Limerick division, Chief Superintendent David Sheahan expressed his sympathies to the family. 

“To lose somebody at such a tender age is very difficult for the members to try and grapple with. While the pain is hard for us in the gardai, it could never equate to the pain that her husband Gary and her family are going through. Our sympathies are with them at this moment,” said Chief Supt Sheahan.

He described Annette as an “excellent garda”.

“It takes a special person to be able to police in a rural environment and Annette had those qualities in spades. That was borne out by the number of people who attended her removal and burial. We really are indebted - in the short space of time we had her - what she delivered from a policing perspective. We won’t forget Annette,” said Chief Supt Sheahan.

After leaving Templemore, she worked as a garda in Cork and Arklow before arriving in Bruff on July 24, 2008. Her colleagues became her second family and Bruff gardai performed a guard of honour at her funeral.

Annette was a massive GAA football and hurling fan and the invites to her and Gary’s wedding in Lanzarote were designed like match tickets. 

Annette’s beaming smile was her trademark and it was matched by her warm and fun-loving personality. She will be sadly missed by all knew here.

- See the weekend editions of the Limerick Leader for the full tribute