An Garda Síochána (Ireland’s Police Force) was founded in 1922. Few historical records relating to swimming rescues by serving officers exist for the majority of the 20th century.
It appears to have been taken for granted by government and public that police officers could be called upon to rescue persons from drowning, as part of their normal duties, and therefore swimming and rescue instruction was part of the recruit training programme.
Late 20th century research has established that, despite the existence of numerous water rescue organisations, members of An Garda Síochána are often first responders to drowning incidents.
Recent research shows that approximately 20 police officers enter deep water annually and make swimming rescues, often in extremely difficult circumstances.
The majority of those rescued had deliberately entered the water, are young males, and have been drinking beforehand.
Gardai usually work in teams and swim in full uniform often displaying great courage and commitment.
The 2015 Ireland Medal Ceremony took place on Wednesday 17th June in the Garda College (Ireland's Police Training College) in the presence of senior members of An Garda Síochána, RLSS UK, RLSS IRELAND, and The Lifesaving Foundation.