I take this opportunity as Leader of the House, on my own behalf and that of the Fianna Fáil Party, to offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the two brave gardaí, Garda Tony Tighe and Garda Michael Padden, and Private Peadar Ó Flaithearta, all of whom lost their lives while on duty serving the public interest. The whole country has been immensely moved by the tragic deaths of the two gardaí who died just half an hour after coming on duty in the early hours of Sunday morning last. The nation was just learning of the awful circumstances of this terrible tragedy when we were further shocked by the news of the death of Private Peadar Ó Flaithearta in the service of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor.
As a nation, we rightly take pride in the professionalism with which members of both the Garda Síochána and the Army carry out their duties in various jurisdictions where they have served. They have done much to bring honour to the country. This tragedy brings home to us all the true nature of public service and the sacrifices and risks undertaken for us on a daily basis by members of the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. Garda Tighe and Garda Padden were the 40th and 41st members of the force to die on duty. Like so many before them, they knew they were exposing themselves to risks when they responded to the call for help on Sunday morning last, but they put the safety and defence of our community before their own.
In paying tribute to their courage and bravery, we also pay tribute to the force as a whole. Such events bring home to us all the nature of their job, the dangers they face on our behalf, the risks they regularly face and the injuries, including death, which they sometimes sustain. On behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party and on my own behalf as Leader of the House, I offer my wholehearted condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the three unfortunate men who have lost their lives in recent days. Go ndéana Dia trócaire orthu.