Garda Gary McLoughlin, 24, was killed when he was struck by a car being driven by Martin McDermott at Burt in Co Donegal on December 14th, 2009.
McDermott, who sparked uproar when he escaped from Loughan House open prison in Cavan in February, was later jailed for seven years for Garda McLoughlin’s manslaughter.
Garda McLoughlin’s family including his mother and father Noel and Una, as well as brother Enda travelled from their native Fenagh in Co Leitrim to receive the honour while sister Treacy sent her apologies.
Garda McLoughlin’s girlfriend Shauna Bradley, whom he had met while stationed in Buncrana, was also present.
Accepting the honour on behalf of his younger brother, Enda McLoughlin said the award means that Gary will never be forgotten.
“I am honoured to receive this honour – it assures us all that Gary will never be forgotten. It means a great deal too us. We were always proud of Gary and we are even prouder today,” he said.
He recalled his younger brother whom he said loved all the things in life that young men do.
“He loved music and new computer games and football and his favourite teams Arsenal.
“Football and soccer loomed large in Gary’s life and cars and motorbikes loomed even larger. He purchased a motorbike in Cork which he proudly used to leave in his kitchen. His housemates had the last laugh when they turned it into a clothes horse,” said Enda.
And he added that the people of Donegal were an enormous joy to his late brother and were now a huge support to the McLoughlin family.
“Over past two and half years people of Donegal have given us enormous courage to deal with the huge void this has left in our lives. This is a day of celebration but it is tinged with sadness that Gary is not here to enjoy the occasion with us all today,” he said.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the support of families
“Their love and understanding help us to do our job protecting our community. Unfortunately Garda families must also carry a burden of worry as loved ones face a risk of danger in their daily lives.
“That burden of worry becomes a burden of loss when members lose their lives in the course of their duty. We all feel the loss in our own way,” he said.
The late Garda McLoughlin’s family were presented with a specially commissioned silver replica of the Donegal county badge by local goldsmith Geraldine Hannigan.
The presentation was made by Mayor of Donegal, Cllr Noel McBride who said “We have bestowed this honour on Gary so that his family know that he good people of Donegal cherished the work he did here and we continue to support his family and colleagues.”