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Garda ar Lár
Garda ar LárRTÉ One, Monday, 7.30pm (Repeat)

Programme 3: Garda John Francis Morley and Garda Henry Gerard Byrne

The 7th of July 1980 was a black day in garda history. Two officers, Garda John Francis Morley and Garda Henry Gerard Byrne, were shot and killed by bank raiders near Ballaghdereen, Co. Roscommon. Customers and staff were held at gunpoint.

Unarmed gardaí arrived at the scene but were faced down by the gunmen who escaped. Byrne and Morley intercepted outside the town. The raiders' car was disabled but they shot into the garda car killing Byrne before taking off on foot across the fields. Morley was armed and he gave pursuit but he was shot and died later.

Two of the raiders were apprehended in the area and forensic evidence secured their conviction for capital murder which was commuted to 40 years imprisonment. A third man was arrested days later and he too was initially convicted and sentenced to death but later had his conviction overturned.

Ann Byrne with her two sons
Ann Byrne with her two sons
Funeral of Garda John Francis Morley and Garda Henry Gerard Byrne
Funeral of Garda John Francis Morley and Garda Henry Gerard Byrne