Death takes place in Portlaoise of brave garda blown up in IRA bomb

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

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Gerry Bohan, Peter Clerkin representing Michael Clerkin; Tom Peters, Ben Thornton and Jim Cannon with their medals at the Scott Medal presentation in the Garda College, Templemore. Picture: Alf Harvey

The death has taken place in Portlaoise of Tom Peters, the brave retired Garda Detective, who suffered lifelong injuries after being blown up in an IRA bomb on the Laois Offaly border in 1976.

Tom, late of the Stradbally Road, Portlaoise and formerly Dunnamaggin, Co Kilkenny, passed away on Saturday, October 20.

Beloved husband of Betty and loving father to Elma, and Breidette (O’Donnell), and the late Dick, Tom passed away surrounded by his loving family after a short illness.

The retired detective was among five Laois Offaly Division Gardaí called out to a farmhouse in Garryhinch near Portarlington. The men were blown up when a bomb went off inside.

The men were called to the scene after a threat was made to the life of the then TD, Oliver J Flanagan father of the current Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.

Garda Michael Clerkin, from Monaghan, was killed instantly, Tom Peters, Ben Thornton, Jim Cannon and Gerry Bohan were all injured. Tom suffered horrific injuries which result in loss of his sight.

They were honoured last November with Scott Medals for bravery for their actions.

“On that night in 1976, five men went out and only four came home. The lives of all those affected, the men and their families, were changed irrevocably by the bomb," his daughter Elma told the Leinster Express in Templemore when the medals were awarded in 2017.

“My father said he was honoured to receive the Scott medal. It's important that they have all finally got the recognition for their bravery that night,” she said.

Cherished grandfather to Ellen, Eva, and Luke Tom's death is also deeply regretted by his loving family, son-in-law Paul, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, relatives, friends and former Garda colleagues.

Tom's remains will repose privately. Funeral will arrive at SS Peter and Paul’s Church, Portlaoise at 5pm on Sunday evening. Requiem mass at 11am on Monday followed by interment in SS Peter and Paul’s Cemetery.