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Brave gardai who died while on force

In 1975 Gda Michael Reynolds (30) was shot in the head as he pursued two bank robbers while unarmed and on foot.

He had been off duty with his wife and two-year-old daughter when a getaway car almost hit them on the Howth Road on Dublin's northside. Gda Reynolds gave chase, caught up with them in Raheny and was shot.

Two of the raiders were sentenced to death, but this was later commuted to life.

In 1980 Det John Morley (38) and Gda Henry Byrne (30) were shot dead pursuing three masked members of a Republican gang who had robbed a Roscommon bank.

When the getaway car crashed into the pursuing garda vehicle at Castlerea, the raiders attacked the gardai with shotguns, killing Garda Byrne. Det Morley gave chase across fields and was fatally wounded, too.

All three robbers were sentenced to death, later reduced to 40 years.

In 1985 Sgt Patrick Morrisey (49) was chasing criminals who stole €25,000 from a Labour Exchange in Dundalk. When they crashed into a car, he pursued them into the grounds of Rathbrist House where he was shot twice, the second time to the head.

His killers were the last people to be sentenced to death by the Irish State.

In 1996 Det Jerry McCabe (53) was part of an escort for a post office van carrying €81,000. As he and his partner parked the garda car behind the van in Adare, a jeep crashed into them.

Two members of the Provisional IRA in balaclavas sprayed the car with an AK-47. Det McCabe was hit three times and died. His partner was hit 11 times but survived.

Four men were convicted, although the charge was reduced to manslaughter.

In 1999 Sgt Andrew Callanan (36) was in Tallaght Garda Station when a man entered carrying two flares and two canisters of petrol. Sgt Callanan tried to disarm the man who threw petrol at the garda and set it alight.

The ensuing blast killed Sgt Callanan and injured other gardai. Daniel O'Toole (38), of Cashel Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin was convicted of the manslaughter.

In 2009 Gda Gary McLoughlin (24) responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle being driven by Martin McDermott who had 91 previous convictions and a driving ban.

During the 30 km chase, McDermott came speeding back towards the garda vehicle on the wrong side of the road.

The ensuing crash threw the garda 60 yards down the road and he died in Letterkenny hospital the next day. McDermott was sentenced to seven years for manslaughter.