The Garda Síochána Retired Members Association (GSRMA) announced the virtual launch of Capturing our History – an Oral History of An Garda Síochána 1922-2022 on the 9 February 2022.
The Project has three themes currently, the Historical Past, The Role of Women and the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings 1974. Much more to follow.
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We have sought to maintain the highest Academic, Legal and Ethical standards. Within these guidelines colleagues and friends are free to express their views in an open and honest way. They are not required to endorse past or current policies, they are invited to be themselves. Doctor Tomás Mac Conmara is the projects lead academic adviser. These are the stories of ordinary men and women doing ordinary things in an extraordinary manner. These colleagues and their families have made major contributions to the success of the Garda Síochána and to the Security of the State. Follow their journey through their own words. This is a unique venture and speaks to the practical patriotism of thousands of Gardaí.
The 9 February is an iconic date because on that day in 1922 General Michael Collins, Chairman of the Provisional Government convened a meeting to organise a new police force to replace the Royal Irish Constabulary which was being disestablished in a matter of weeks.
A replacement force was required to replace the RIC. The ostensible requirement was to select, train and deploy 4,000 members of the new force to every corner of the Free State within weeks. This was an impossible undertaking particularly in the context of the looming Civil War. We invite you to take this journey with us.
Time Table Key Events 9 February 1922 Police Organising Committee – Gresham Hotel – Recommendations to Provisional Government – An Armed Force - Accepted 21 February 1922 Recruiting Commenced 22 February 1922 – Civic Guard Formally Founded (8 August 1923 Reconstituted as An Garda Síochána) 3 April 1925 - Dublin Metropolitan Police amalgamated with AGS
March 1922 – Recruiting in place at RDS – Early Agitation re former RIC
25 April 1922 – Recruiting Transferred to Kildare Military Barracks (Continued Agitation about former RIC).
May 1922 - RIC and IRA Personnel appointed to Senior Civic Guard ranks.
15 May 1922 – Protest Committee downfaced Commissioner Staines in Kildare Barracks
16 May 1922 Staines moved 200 non protesting recruits to Newbridge Barracks, recently vacated. Staines arranged for arms held in Kildare Depot to be secured by National Army. After a standoff the Army withdrew, Staines was not present having gone to Dublin. Later that day Staines returned to Kildare and was refused admittance and was forced to return to Dublin. Mutineers still in charge.
17 May 1922– Standing Orders for the Day issued in Kildare affirmed Loyalty to the Provisional Government but declared five former RIC members now in senior positions persona non grata.
22 May 1922 Assistant Commissioner Patrick Brennan and Superintendent Sean Liddy summoned to meet Collins and Eamon Duggan in Government Buildings , Collins furious.
25 May 1922 Michael Collins intervened personally in Kildare, but trod softly Civic Guard had divided into different factions, the mutinous Kildare group, the Newbridge members and two facilities in Dublin, Great Denmark Street and Clonskeagh Castle. Commissioner Michael Staines had established a base in the Clarence Hotel.
9 June 1922 Staines returned to Kildare, Committee refused him admission, Brennan and Liddy not present
16 June 1922 General Election victory for Pro Treaty side
17 June 1922 Rory O’Connor Army Executive with a small group of mutineers commandeered Rifles and Revolvers , as well as an amount of ammunition from the Civic Guard armoury. They were brought to the Four Courts in Dublin and where they joined the irregulars, anti-Treaty I.R.A. men.
20 June 1922 Farrell Liddy, a member of the Civic Guard, stationed in Newbridge, was accidently wounded, and died soon after.
24 June 1922 President Arthur Griffith and Minister Eamonn Duggan visited Kildare Barracks to resolve the Civic Guard Mutiny.
28 June 1922 The National Army bombarded the Four Courts - Civil War (Open Warfare)
12 July 1922 Kevin O’Shiel and Michael McAuliffe appointed as commissioners to hold an Inquiry into the Kildare Mutiny
14 July 1922 Inquiry Hearings Commenced
Main Recommendation -
That the Civic Guard be technically disbanded, but not dispersed. That arrangements be then made for the selective re-enrolment of members of the Civic Guard. That the Civic Guard be sent out on Police Duty as soon as possible.
They proposed that each member would be welcome to apply for a position in the new force on satisfying a three-man selection committee In addition to the proposed disbandment of the Civic Guard, the commissioners listed eleven specific recommendations to ensure the replacement force would attain the confidence of the Irish public and members of the force.
They accepted the primary grievance of the ‘Men’. Rather than relying on ex-RIC personnel, the government was advised to seek the services of highly experienced officers from America, France or Germany for a three to five-year period.
The Government to prohibit elected or former elected representatives from serving in any capacity in the new force.
All members of the new force would be appointed on a temporary basis for a minimum period of one year to assess their suitability for a permanent position, and all members of the force would receive a syllabus of examinations to encourage each man to study for the rank ‘he considers himself capable of attaining under the examination system’. Through study and examination preparation, it was envisaged that the training process would be expedited, and that the minds of the men would be employed ‘in a useful way and take them off other and undesirable things that they appear to have taken to only too readily in the past’
The government was advised to reserve the most senior positions of the new headquarters staff for ex-IRA men, and that each officer’s chief assistant should be an ex-RIC or DMP man with a good national record. Such a recommendation was considered necessary to ensure any propaganda against the new force could have no credence:
We are most anxious that ex-policemen with good records should be encouraged to come into the new force, but not into positions where they could have a majority voice in directing policy in general. We would strongly favour the presence of at least one ex-policeman in each established station – particularly a resigned or dismissed man who served with the IRA. This man need not necessarily be in charge of the station.
Following a study of comparable police forces in other countries, it was proposed that the new Civic Guard should be divided into three sections.
The first section would represent the main body of unarmed policemen and be deployed in stations around the country, as the disarming of the main body of the force would facilitate public acceptance of the new Civic Guard and in the prevailing political turmoil would ‘be a safeguard to the officers and men themselves’. The commissioners expected that such a proposition would discourage the Executive Forces from identifying the new unarmed Civic Guard as a legitimate military target.
The second section would be a semi-military detachment of the force, whose members would be trained in the use of arms but would carry arms only in cases of emergency. It was anticipated that this body of men would be placed under the control of the commissioner and ‘be a kind of reserve force at headquarters’ that could be ‘dispatched to any district in case of actual or anticipated disturbances where the presence of an armed force might be a vital necessity in keeping the peace’.
The third section would consist of a liaison system between local council authorities and the Civic Guard for the deployment of the special armed force on occasions when the peace of a locality was disturbed or threatened.
17 August 1922 - Recruits moved back to Dublin for formal handover from RIC – Billeted in Ship Street, very bad accommodation, old grievances surfaced but dissipated.
22 August 1922 - Michael Collins Killed in West Cork
30 August 1922, Kevin O'Higgins Appointed Minister for Home Affairs (Justice)
11 September 1922 General Eoin O'Duffy appointed Commissioner
13 September 1922 - First Civic Guards Deployed to Swords Station 4 November 1922 - Recruit Training moved to Collinstown (Now Dublin Airport 14 November 1922 – Murder Garda Henry Phelan , Mullinahone (stationed in Callan) 18 December – Contingent of Civic Guard Led into RIC Depot (Garda Depot) by Pipers 28 December 1922 - Recruit Training transferred to McKee barracks from Collinstown (Not the Garda Depot – RIC Depot) 20 February 1923 – Massed Civic Guard Parade through Dublin Streets to Government Buildings for review by the cabinet. Marching bands are led by the Commissioner, General Eoin O'Duffy and his officers.
 McCarthy, Brian. The Civic Guard Mutiny (pp. 103-104). Mercier Press. Kindle Edition