Northern Ireland

Deirdre Finn: Garda who died in boat fire 'was planning to retire'

Detective Garda Deirdre Finn who died in the blaze
Detective Garda Deirdre Finn who died in the blaze

Fresh tributes have been paid to Detective Garda Deirdre (Dee) Finn who died in a boat fire on Monday.

Ms Finn lost her life after a fire on a boat in Carrick-on-Shannon in Co Leitrim.

Her body was removed to Sligo University Hospital where a post-mortem examination will be carried out.

The scene of the fire has been preserved for a technical examination with the boat removed to a secure location.

It is understood the off-duty officer was close to retirement and spent much of her spare time on her boat.

Ms Finn was based in the Dún Laoghaire garda division and had worked mostly out of Shankill garda station recently.

Over the years she was involved in important investigations, including serious burglary and sexual assault offences.

Brendan O’Connor, the president of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) paid tribute to Ms Finn.

Read More: Off-duty garda dies after Carrick-on-Shannon boat fire

 "Detective Garda Deirdre Finn - known as Dee - had served in the force almost 30 years and was planning to retire and enjoy the next chapter in her life," he said.

"She made a huge contribution to the GRA over the years and was very active in the organisation."

He said Ms Finn made an impression.

"Dee was not only an excellent advocate for her colleagues but also for the victims of crime," he told RTE.

"She made a big impression on everyone she met and her colleagues are devastated by her death."

A former colleague described Ms Finn as “an absolutely proper policewoman who, when she was not involved in investigations, was always the life and soul of the party”.

“This is a detective who always prided herself on being first at the scene of a serious crime. She will be missed very much by everyone who knew her," the former colleague said.

Ms Finn had recently completed the Shannon Boat Rally.

Kay Baxter, President of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, which organises the prestigious event said "the atmosphere here is one of disbelief and shock".

"Deirdre was well known in our boating community - we are like one big family and we all help one another out and everybody knows everybody," she said.

"She had just taken part in the Shannon Boat Rally, which ended on Sunday.

"Our hearts go out to her father and brothers, her extended family and all her colleagues in An Garda Síochána."

She added that Ms Finn as a woman with "a very big heart and a very big smile".

"She made friends easily and will be very sadly missed," she said.