Garda Síochána Historical Society
Irish Police History


by Sergeant John Duffy

February 1997 marked the 75th anniversary of the foundation of An Garda Síochána. Throughout the year, various events took place to commemorate this historic occasion, and the Garda Review magazine also played its part in the celebrations. In the first in a series of articles on the chronology of significant events in the life of An Garda Síochána from 1922 to 1997 by Sergeant John Duffy, the Curator of the Garda Síochána Museum and Secretary of the Garda Síochána Historical Society. Andy Needham, Editor of the Garda Review magazine, kindly donated the first of these series of articles which was first published in the February issue of the Garda Review. In this article Sgt. John Duffy chronicles the events of 1922 to 1927, the first five years of the Force.

9 February Inaugural meeting of the Garda foundation committee in the Gresham Hotel under the Chairmanship of Michael Staines.
(N.A. File No. H. 99 Dept. of Justice)
17 February Provisional Government received the Committees' report for the establishment of a police force which was to be known as the 'Civic Guard'.
(N.A. File No. H.99 Dept. of Justice.)
21 February Recruitment campaign commences per circular to Volunteer Brigade Officers to dispatch suitable recruits to a temporary headquarters at the R.D.S. Ballsbridge.
(N.A. File No. H. 99/10 Letter from R.D.S. Mr. E. Duggan, Feb. 20th 1922)

Candidates were to be at least 5' 9", unmarried and between the ages of 19 and 27. They would be compelled to sit examinations in reading spelling and arithmetic.
(File N.A. Dept. of Justice. H.99 p.1)
12 July Michael Collins signs the warrant to commission the Kildare Mutiny Inquiry under two senior Civil Servants, Kevin O'Sheil, Legal Secretary to the Government and Michael MacAuliffe of the Ministry for Labour.
(N.A. (S. 9048) 12th July 1922).
12 August O'Sheil and MacAuliffe presented their findings to the Provisional Government
(Unarmed strategy recommended' N.A. (S. 9048) 12th July 1922)
17 August In one of his final acts as ex-officio Commissioner about to submit his resignation, Michael Staines led a band of founding members of the Force to take charge of Dublin Castle from the British Army.
(Photograph - Garda Museum)
14 November Murder of Garda Harry Phelan the first member of the Force to be killed by shooting, returning from Mullinahone, Co. Tipperary to Callan, Co. Kilkenny, after purchasing hurleys for a local team.
('Iris An Garda 1922 - Garda Museum')

20 February Advertisement' Iris An Garda', Garda Siothchana (Civic Guard), Cadetship (30 vacancies). Open to early members of the Gardai and Officers of the National Army, having at least two years pre-truce service in the Volunteers, may be admitted up to the age of 28 years.
20 April Commissioner Eoin O'Duffy and his Assistant Patrick Walsh set sail for New York on SS"Cedric" to attend the third International Police Conference which was opened on 1st May.
(See 'Iris An Garda' Vol. 1 May 1923).
23 September General O'Duffy headed by the Garda Brass and Reed Band and some three hundred Gardai attended a wreath laying ceremony to the memory of the late General Collins and president Griffith at Leinster Lawn.
(See Iris An Garda, 30th October 1923).
1 October Issue of General Order No. 14 'Intemperance in the Civic Guard' "for no man of any rank who is addicted to drink will be permitted to remain a member of the Civic Guard. This is a penalty which will be rigidly enforced".
(see Iris An Garda November 1923).
3 December Murder of Sgt. James Woods in an armed raid on the Garda Station Scartaglen, Co. Kerry.
(See Iris An Garda December 1923).

8 January Letters from Walter Scott to General O'Duffy confirming the bequeath of a gold bond to enable the striking of the "Scott Medal" in perpetuity to An Garda Síochána.
(See Iris An Garda January 1924).
28 January Garda Patrick Joseph O'Halloran shot dead in Baltinglass attempting to arrest two armed bank raiders. General O'Duffy delivered oration at graveside.
(Iris An Garda, Vol. 1 No. 51, February 11th 1924).
7 May Murder of Sgt. Thomas Griffin and John Aphonsus Murrin at Cregg, Carrrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary, while attempting to arrest an armed criminal. General O'Duffy delivers oration.
(Iris An Garda, May 19th 1924).
19 August Presentation of the first Scott Medal to Garda James Mulroy by the donor, Colonel Walter Scott, who visited Dublin for the occasion.
(Iris and Garda, Vol. 1 No. 77 21st August 1924).
September General O'Duffy honoured at a dinner in the Shelbourne Hotel by commissioner McDonald of the New York Police Department.
("Guth An Garda" Vol. 1 No. 11 of 18th Sept. 1994,p. 12).
October The introduction of new cycling uniforms to An Garda Síochána.
("Guth An Garda", Vol. 1, No. 16 of 30th Oct. 1924, p. 18).
November Draft proposals for the amalgamation of the D.M.P. with An Garda Síochána placed before the executive Council by the Minister for Justice.
("Guth An Garda", Vol. 1, No. 19 of 27th Nov. 1924, p. 3).
December Profile of sports achievements for 1924, athletics, boxing, Gaelic games (football, hurling and handball).
(Photographs and text given in "Guth An Garda", Vol. 1, No. 21 of 18th Dec. 1924, p 25-32).

December The first issue of 'The Garda Review', Vol. 1, No 1, was issued, replacing both 'Iris An Garda' and 'Guth An Garda' two initial publications of the early force. In the first forward to the new publication General Eoin O'Duffy is quoted as follows: "The Review must speak for itself, and the Garda themselves will be the judges of its merits".
Sport in An Garda Síochána features in the first issue of the 'Garda Review' it includes cycling, athletics, boxing and Gaelic games.
(Vol. 1, No. 1, Garda Review 1925)
Editorial Garda Review, Vol. 1, includes an item headed 'The Passing of the D.M.P.' making its amalgamation with An Garda Síochána in 1925.
December 28 Garda Thomas Dowling ambushed and shot dead at Croggagh, Fanore, Co. Clare, in reprisal for his enforcement of the illicit distillation laws .
(See Garda Review, Vol. 1, No. 3, Feb. 1926, p.p. 196-197).

January Editorial note on the theme of "courage" prompted by the courage of Sgt. John Rooney of Kanturk Garda Station who had been awarded a "Scott Gold Medal" for disarming a robber in Donegal in 1924.
To quote from Eoin O'Duffy on the theme "I say that a brave guard is braver than a brave soldier. A soldier goes into the fight under the command of his officers. It is altogether different with the policeman. He is at once the commanding officer and private. He fights his fight alone. His enemy, the criminal ever exists. For the guard it is a fight to the finish. It is a question of either his life or that of his antagonists".
(See G.R. Vol. 1 No. 2, January 1926)
April Under the heading 'Sport in the Garda', pages 328-338 of the Garda Review, Vol. 1. No. 5 outlines pleas for a Garda week and covers many areas from athletics to tug-of-war.
May Retirement of Supt. Denis Carey D.M.P. and early Garda Síochána noted athlete and career police man.
G.R. Vol. 1 No. 6 p. 418-419)

The sport in the Garda section covers the fourth annual sports programme to be held on 17th July, 1926. Photographs of athletes, teams and events.
(G.R. Vol. 1 No. 6, May 1926)
July The Garda Review of July 1926 has a photograph of Deputy Commissioner Eamonn Coogan on the cover. The Deputy Commissioner was to play a very active part in the early years of the force. The Corofin inspection was of course a crude hoax and should never have been taken as factual account of discipline in the early force.
August The Scott Medal presentation ceremony to Sgt. Peter O'Reilly , Reg. No. 1873 is photographed on page 625 of the Garda Review, Vol. 1, No. 9. The article covers the presentation of silver and bronze medals on the occasion also.
Aonach An Garda and fourth annual Garda sports including a photograph of the Metropolitan tug-of war team at Glasgow sports under their captain, Inspector Denis Hurley, when they won the International Heavyweight competition.
September Photograph of Assistant Commissioner, Edward Cullen, the first officer to lead the new force to Cork in 1922.
(Vol. 1, No. 10, Garda Review, Sep. 1926).

June Article 'Sport in the Garda'. Photographs of the Garda Depot football and hurling teams in training in preparation for the annual match against the army on June 26th., also photograph of Garda champion boxers of the day 'Aonach An Garda 1927'.
(Garda Review, Vol. 11, No. 7, June 1927 and Vol. 11, No. 9 of Aug. 1927).
July 10 The assassination of Mr. Kevin O'Higgins, first Minister for Justice while walking to Church form his residence, 'Dunamaise' near Cross Avenue, Blackrock.
(Garda Review, Vol. 11, No. 9, Aug. 1927, p.p. 893-907).
December Christmas message from the Commissioner quotes the late Minister for Justice, Kevin O'Higgins
"The internal politics and political controversies of the country are not your concern. you will serve with the same imperturbable discipline and with increasing efficiency any Government which has the support of the majority of the people's elected representatives. Party will, no doubt, succeed party in the ebb and flow of the political tide. New issues will arise and the landmarks of today will disappear, but you will remain steadfast and devoted in the service of the people, and of any government which it may please the people to return to power. That is the real meaning of democracy, Government of the people by the people through their elected representatives. It is the only barrier between mankind and anarchy".
(Garda Review, Christmas Messages, Vol. 111, No. 1, December 1927 p. 3).
This article has been reproduce by the kind permission of
Andy Needham, Editor of the Garda Review.
Garda Review Magazine - © February 1997

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