Dáil pays tribute to garda


Tributes have been paid in the Dáil today to the off-duty garda who died after being swept away into a river at Ballysmuttan bridge in Co Wicklow.

Ciaran Jones (25), based at Stepaside, Co Dublin, was helping to keep people safe from dangerous floods at the bridge when he was swept away yesterday. His body was recovered nearby today.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said: “The recovery of his remains today in Wicklow is truly dreadful news, and my heart goes out to his parents and to family members.

“I also want to express my condolences to Garda Jones’s colleagues and friends. He was a brave man who put his life at risk in helping the public at a time of great danger.”

"His courageous actions were in the finest traditions of the Garda Síochána,” Mr Shatter said. The Minister also thanked those involved in the rescue effort including Mr Jones’s colleagues, the Glen of Imaal mountain rescue team, the Defence Forces and Civil Defence, Coast Guard and members of the public.

“The commitment and dedication they showed in such hazardous conditions are deeply appreciated and the extraordinary dreadful sacrifice in seeking to save the lives of others in appalling conditions made by Garda Ciaran

Jones is something that will remain in the memory of all of us in this House.”

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Dara Calleary also paid tribute to the garda's efforts, particularly as he was off duty when he took the actions he did to protect others.

Mr Calleary said: “I think at times like this we are reminded that our gardaí, both on and off duty, are the bravest people we have, and they never cease to put themselves . . . to save others at any circumstance.”

Independent TD Wicklow Stephen Donnelly said he visited Blessington this morning. “It was extraordinary measure of the young man that . . . they could not handle anymore volunteers such had been the response from Garda Jones’s own community.”

Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind, Dublin Central) said the garda had lost his life “not even in the course of his duty but in the course of his civic duty as a human being trying to help”. It was a sad day she said for his family, friends and colleagues, she added.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan also paid tribute to Ciaran Jones and extended his sympathies to his family and colleagues.