Belfast Telegraph

Historic first as Gardai officials join with PSNI in remembrance

From left: Mark Lindsay, chair, PFNI, Jim Mulligan, GRA president, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne and Cormac Moylan, AGSI president
From left: Mark Lindsay, chair, PFNI, Jim Mulligan, GRA president, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne and Cormac Moylan, AGSI president
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) for the first time was joined by police organisations from the Republic of Ireland for an Armistice Day wreath-laying ceremony in Belfast.

Representatives from the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) laid wreaths at the RUC GC and PSNI memorials at PSNI headquarters yesterday at 11am.

All three organisations were remembering officers from An Garda Siochana, the RUC GC and the PSNI who were killed over the course of more than 95 years of policing on the island of Ireland.

The three associations honoured the 390 officers killed on duty and in excess of 10,000 wounded during civil unrest and criminal activity on the island.

The Chair of the PFNI, Mark Lindsay, who hosted the occasion, said: "At a practical, day-to-day level, our ties are strong and getting stronger as we look at common concerns and challenges north and south.

"I am delighted that the AGSI and the GRA were able to accept our invitation to honour all our dead at what was a moving ceremony at PSNI headquarters."

AGSI President Cormac Moylan added: "This is a little bit of policing history in Ireland and I am honoured to have been a part of it.

"Our organisations have suffered dreadfully at the hands of terrorists and criminals.

"All of them were trying to make their communities safer and paid the ultimate price for maintaining law and order," he said.

GRA President Jim Mulligan stated that the joint remembrance service was a welcome step forward for all three organisations.

"This is the first time we have come together to honour our dead and to say that we remember their selfless sacrifice and commitment to duty," he continued.

It was announced last month that PSNI officers were to be awarded a new service medal in recognition of their work while under a severe terror threat. The medal will be given to serving and retired police officers who have completed five years' service from February 25, 2009, the date the terrorist threat level in Northern Ireland was officially raised to severe.

Officers who have been killed in the line of duty, or who have had to retire through injury, will also be recognised.

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