Donegal pays tribute to Garda Gary McLoughlin

The family of the late Garda Gary McLoughlin said Donegal County Council’s posthumous conferral of the Civic Commemorative Honour on Garda McLoughlin has meant a great deal to them.

The family of the late Garda Gary McLoughlin said Donegal County Council’s posthumous conferral of the Civic Commemorative Honour on Garda McLoughlin has meant a great deal to them.

Speaking for the McLoughlin family, the brother of the late Garda Gary McLoughlin said Donegal County Council’s posthumous conferral of civic commemorative honour on Garda McLoughlin “assures us all that Gary will never be forgotten by the people of Donegal.”

“Gary’s garda service to Donegal, and in particular to Buncrana and Inishowen, has been recognised in this honour conferred today, and means a great deal to us,” Enda McLoughlin, Garda McLoughlin’s older brother, said on Friday in a moving ceremony in council chamber at County House, Lifford.

Garda McLoughlin lost his life in the line of duty in December 2009, after the patrol car he was driving was struck by an oncoming vehicle travelling at high speed. Garda McLoughlin was 24 years old.

Garda McLoughlin’s parents, Noel and Úna, and family members travelled from Fenagh, for the ceremony, which was also attended by Garda McLoughlin’s partner, Shauna Bradley. Garda McLoughlin’s sister, Tracey, was unable to attend.

“We as a family were always very proud of Gary as a Garda officer. We are even prouder today,” Enda McLoughlin said.

“Thank you most sincerely to the people of Donegal for recognising Gary’s loyal and committed Garda service and in bestowing posthumously this very special civic honour on him.”

The civic commemorative honour is the highest the county council can bestow.

Speaking at the ceremony, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan also paid tribute to the contributions made by the families of gardaí.

“Their love and understanding helps ensure that we can do our job protecting the community,” he said. “Unfortunately, however, garda families must also carry a burden of worry as loved ones face risk and dangers in their daily work.”

The Commissioner said Garda McLoughlin “made a huge impact on the lives of all those who knew him. He made the ultimate sacrifice in seeking to serve the community in Buncrana, and the Irish state. It was a duty to which he was wholeheartedly committed and one which he enjoyed fulfilling every day.”

Also attending were Assistant Garda Commissioner Kieran Kenny, northern region; Chief Superintendent James Sheridan, acting divisional officer for Donegal; Superintendent Kevin English, current district officer Buncrana; Superintendent William Johnstone, Superintendent in Buncrana at the time of Garda McLoughlin’s death; Garda McLoughlin’s Buncrana colleagues and other garda representatives.

“It is also obvious that he was immensely popular with his colleagues and with the community he served,” County Manager Seamus Neely said. “It is heartening to see so many of Gary’s closest colleagues and those who deeply loved him here today.”

Representatives of each political grouping on the council also offered a tribute to the late garda and condolences to his family.

Donegal Mayor, Fine Gael Cllr. Noel McBride, made the presentation to Mrs. McLoughlin of a commissioned silver replication of the county badge crafted by Letterkenny designer Geraldine Hannigan that was mounted on a background designed by Fionntan Gogarty.

“Garda Gary McLoughlin lost his life whilst carrying out his duty protecting the citizens of our county and we, in Donegal, wish to acknowledge and honour the service he gave and sacrifice that he made,” Mayor McBride said.

Last year, Martin McDermott, from Raphoe, was sentenced to seven years for Garda McLoughlin’s manslaughter.

This marked the second time the council has bestowed a posthumous honour on a member of An Garda Siochana. They conferred the honour on the late Garda Robert McCallion in June of 2010.