Garda Síochána Historical Society
Irish Police History

Garda Síochána na hÉireann - Ireland's National Police
Cork City's "New" Uniform 1926
The Garda Síochána will succeed, not by force of arms or numbers,
but by their moral authority as servants of the people."
Commissioner Michael Staines (1885-1955), First Commissioner of An Garda Síochána.

The "Garda Síochána na hÉireann" (in English - "Guardians of the Peace of Ireland") is Ireland's national police force. The force is responsible for the maintenance of law and order throughout the Republic of Ireland. The mission of An Garda Síochána is to protect life and property, to safeguard the liberties of the individual, to preserve public peace, to prevent and detect crime, to provide guidance for young people as they seek to become caring, law-abiding citizens and in so doing to provide a quality service to the public while maintaining the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and efficiency.

Organised policing in Ireland began with the Dublin Police Act, 1786. The Irish Constabulary was established in 1822 and became the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1867. The Dublin Police was established in 1836. During one of the bloodiest periods in Irish History, the War of Independence 1919-1922, over 400 policemen were killed. In 1922 the Royal Irish Constabulary was disbanded and the Civic Guard was established. The Civic Guard was later renamed the Garda Síochána and in 1925 the Dublin Metropolitan Police merged with the new police force.

Deputy Commissioner
Assistant Commissioner
Chief Superintendent
Reserve Garda
Today we have almost 11,000 members in our police force stationed in about 700 police stations throughout the country. The population of the Republic of Ireland is 3.5 million with 1.1 million people in Dublin the capital city. As policemen we are lucky to have one of the lowest levels of serious violent crimes in comparison to that of other developed countries while our detection rates are comparable to other countries.

The entry level to the force is at the rank of Student Garda. Competitions for entry into the Garda Síochána are usually held once every three years. The Student Garda undergo an intensive two year training programme, with subjects such as Law, Social Science, Communications, Irish Language, Physical Training. The training includes theoretical training at the Garda Síochána College in Templemore, Co. Tipperary, and work experience at placement stations. Irish is the first official language of the Republic of Ireland and English is the second official language. Every member of our police force must be suitably qualified in both languages. Successful students will then be appointed to the Force, and have promotional prospects up through the ranks to the level of Commissioner.

Besides domestic duties, the Garda Síochána also performs peace-keeping duties overseas with the United Nations. Since its first overseas mission with a 50 member contingent to Namibia in 1989, the force continued to play a major role in United Nations peace-keeping missions to Angola, Cambodia, Cyprus, Mozambique, South Africa and the former Yugoslavia.Sadly, we have already lost one of our members to hostile fire while on such duties. Sgt. Paul M. Reid was fatally injured while on duty with the United Nations UNPROFOR at "Sniper's Alley", Sarajevo on 18.05.1995.

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