Could I start by saying that the whole House will be aware of the tragic incident in Wicklow yesterday evening when Garda Ciaran Jones was swept away at Ballysmutten Bridge. The recovery of his remains today in Wicklow is truly dreadful news, and my heart goes out to his parents and family.  I also want to express my condolences to Garda Jones’ colleagues and friends.  The Garda Síochána and all of us have lost a brave man who put his life at risk in helping the public at a time of great danger and the Stepaside community have lost a dedicated member of the Stepaside Garda Station.  His courageous actions were in the finest tradition of the Garda Síochána.

I also want to thank all those who were involved in the rescue efforts, including Garda Jones’ colleagues, the local Glen of Imaal Mountain Rescue team, the Defence Forces and Civil Defence, the Coast Guard and members of the public.  The commitment and dedication they showed in such hazardous conditions are deeply appreciated."

ENDS

25 October 2011