Archive RTE News clips that have been made available to access digitally online for the very first time offer a glimpse into 1980s Ardee, with the first batch of almost 1,500 clips including footage of the broadcaster’s report on the death of Garda Patrick Morrissey.
The unarmed, off-duty Garda was shot dead when he attempted to stop an armed robbery at Ardee employment exchange in June 1985.
Morrissey, who was the local sergeant in Collon, was on his way to Ardee Courthouse for a sitting of the local court when he became aware of an armed robbery taking place at the premises on Hale Street, now the Ardee Social Welfare office.
Michael McHugh and Noel Callan, from Armagh, were sentenced to death for the brutal murder of Sgt Morrissey. They were released from prison in December 2015.
The archive clip – originally broadcast on June 27th 1985 and now available to new on RTE Archives News Collection – features a report from correspondent Tom McCaughren and includes footage from outside the old employment exchange as locals queue up outside looking for work.
The report also includes footage from Rathbrist House where the chase from Ardee ended and Sgt Morrissey was shot dead. Chief Superintendent John Moore of the Garda Technical Bureau and General Secretary of the Garda Representative Association Jack Marrinan are those interviewed.
The report explains what happened on the day Sgt Morrissey’s murder. The two men held Sean Boyle at gunpoint at the employment exchange, firing several shots before taking with them a large quantity of money.
They fled Ardee towards Tallanstown before changing to a motorbike. Soon after, they collided with a car and ran into into the grounds of Rathbrist House. Sgt Morrissey was shot in a lane way.
Originally from Cavan, Sgt Morrissey had served in stations all across the country and left behind his wife Bernie and four children – aged between 19 and 12.
The RTÉ Archives News Collection also includes a report in which then Taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald offers his condolence to Sgt Morrissey and a report from the Garda’s funeral. You can view the clip mentioned above by clicking here.