On Tuesday 7 July, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin spoke at the memorial in Loughglynn for Detective Garda John Morley and Garda Henry Byrne, who lost their lives on duty in 1980.
Speaking at the memorial, Bishop Doran said, “The Garda Síochána, since the inception of the State, have played a pivotal role in the service of justice and peace, and have done so, for the most part, without resort to arms. Almost ninety members of the force have given their lives in the course of their active service. It is worth reminding ourselves today of the words of Jesus who said: ‘nobody can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friend’.”
Drawing attention to the family ties and community roots of Detective Garda Morley and Garda Byrne, Bishop Doran continued, “When people wear a uniform or exercise a public role, their unique humanity can sometimes be obscured by their public profile. Today, as we gather to commemorate Garda Morley and Garda Byrne, it is very important that their families are represented here.
“John and Henry, like the late Garda Colm Horkan and so many others, were not just anonymous servants of the State. They were much loved sons and brothers, husbands and fathers. They were deeply rooted in the local communities from which they came.”
In conclusion, Bishop Doran said, “What are the values and qualities that we most expect to see in members of An Garda Síochána? The ones that come to mind most obviously include: fairness; commitment to the truth; a desire to protect those who are most at risk; the service of the common good; courage; the wisdom to resolve difficult situations in a peaceful manner. Some of these things values are found among the Beatitudes and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. I’m sure many of them are included in the training courses at Templemore.
“In the final analysis, however, these values are received and nourished in our families and in our local communities. For that reason, I suggest that a healthy family life and a strong local community is the backbone of the Garda Síochána, just as it is the backbone of the Church. May Garda Henry Byrne and Garda John Morley and all their deceased colleagues rest in peace.”