A GARDA inspector who was murdered by an IRA bomb on the Fermanagh border in the 1970s has been posthumously awarded the highest honour from An Garda Síochána.
Originally from Co Longford, Insp Sam Donegan was based in Cavan when he died following a booby-trap bomb exploded at Legakelly, Co Monaghan. Last Friday, his family received one of 11 Gold Scott Medals for bravery, handed out by Garda commissioner Drew Harris at a special ceremony at Walter Scott House in Dublin.
Speaking following the event, which came just days before Insp Donegan’s 51st anniversary, Kenny Donaldson from the victims’ charity the South West Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) said the award was important recognition for Insp Donegan, who left behind a grieving widow and a family of six.
“We have the Donegan family in our thoughts today as Samuel is finally recognised for his valour as an Inspector within An Garda Síochána,” said Mr Donaldson.
He added, “We are blessed to have the Donegan family involved with SEFF and whilst no medal, sum of finance or anything else can ever undo the damage sustained by the family through the murder of a devoted husband and father, it is important that Samuel is recognised by his peers and the Irish State, through posthumously receiving the Gold Scott medal.”
Mr Donaldson also paid tribute to the other gardaí who were honoured at the ceremony in Dublin.
“We also recognise Garda Donal Kelleher who sought to rescue and protect the businessman Don Tidey we had been kidnapped in 1983 by The Provisional IRA, in this incident Patrick Kelly of Óglaigh na hÉireann and Garda Recruit Gary Sheehan were callously murdered by Provisional IRA terrorists,” he said.
“We commend all others within The Force who were recognised for their heroism and gallantry.”
Insp Donegan had been leading a border operation alongside the Irish Defence Forces when a suspect device was found near Legakelly on June 8th, 1972. As he went to investigate the suspect device he was fatally injured when a second, nearby device exploded.
Last year, on his 50th anniversary, a memorial in his honour was unveiled outside Cavan Garda Station.
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