Garda Awarded €50k for PTSD After Brave Encounter with Gunman
The High Court has awarded a Garda €50,000 in compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following an incident where he faced and disarmed a gunman. The Garda received the Scott Medal for Bravery for his actions during the incident.
Mr Justice Bernard Barton commended Garda Paul Carney (37) for his bravery when he and his colleague, Garda Thomas Ryan, tackled and disarmed two robbers in Celbridge, Co Kildare, in an incident that took place in August 2010.
Garda Carney, from Leixlip Garda Station, told of how he and his partner had been out on patrol in Celbridge when they heard a security alarm going off in a jewllery shop. When they arrived on the scene they saw two men trying to make a getaway. It was then that Carney noticed one of the robbers handing a black handgun to his accomplice as they ran in front of the Garda car.
The court heard that the two Gardaí gave chase to the men as they tried to escape through St Patrick’s Park, Celbridge. It was there that the robbers split up and ran into a residential area. Garda Carney explained that he was unarmed and wearing his uniform during the chase. He called to the robber to surrender, at which point the man turned around and pointed the gun at him.
Garda Carney told the court, “It was like my worst nightmare. I feared for my life but I had no option but to engage with him.” Carney ran at the man, tackled him, disarmed him and tossed the gun aside. While he was putting the man in handcuffs the second robber approached, picked up the gun and threatened Garda Carney, demanding that he release his partner. Garda Carney said that he expected to be shot and so turned his head away. When he looked back, the man was running away, having discarded the gun.
Garda Carney’s barrister, Kieran Kelly, said that both Gardaí managed to apprehend the two robbers successfully. The men were later charged and sentenced to five years each, three years suspended.
Garda Carney said that the incident led to him developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for which he had to undergo therapy to treat. He was suffering from panic attacks as well as paranoia. Carney, who had been a charity marathon runner, said the anxiety caused by the event was the reason he stopped running, as he had fears that he was being followed.
Judge Barton acknowledged that Garda Carney had been involved in a very traumatic incident and had acted bravely, as such, he awarded the Garda €50,000 compensation against the state. In a statement, the judge said, “It is a reminder to all of us of the risks which every member of our police force are daily exposed to when they join An Garda Síochána.”