Charleville Honours The Centenary of The Gardaí

Charleville Heritage Society marked the centenary of the formation of the Garda Siochána when committee vice-chair Ian Doyle and Inspector Miriam McGuire planted a birch tree in the grounds of Charleville Garda Station on last Sunday before a large attendance of former and serving Gardaí local members of the emergency services, Fire Brigade, first responders. At the outset Cllr Doyle called for a minute’s silence to be observed in tribute to Private Sean Rooney, who was killed on duty in the Lebanon with Unifil, and his injured colleague Trooper Shane Kearney, and all the members of the Gardaí who lost their lives in the course of their duty through the years.
Those present, were welcomed to the ceremony by Charleville Garda Sergeant Deirdre Toohey, who said: “On behalf of Charleville Gardaí, I am delighted to welcome you all here today, particularly Very Rev Donal Canon O’Mahony, PP, Inspector Miriam McGuire, Acting District Officer for the Mallow District and Cllr. Ian Doyle. I also welcome Sr. Bernadette Maria and members of Charleville Heritage Society, our colleagues on the Frontline, Charleville Fire Brigade, First Responders and members of the Civil Defence, and former members of Charleville Garda Station and civil defence, Heritage Society members and local people
In her opening remarks, Sgt Toohey said, “It is an honour for us here in the station to have our contribution to policing in the Charleville Community acknowledged by the Heritage Society in this Centenary year and we are grateful for this very thoughtful gesture,” she said.
Cllr Ian Doyle who is also vice chair of Charleville Heritage Society in his address said: “The Garda force was initiated at a turbulent time in Irish history when the country was in the midst of unrest and revolution, and this made the task of the new unarmed police force all the more difficult.
“In common with the rest of the country the Garda station, or barrack, as it was known, was opened at the time at main street, Charleville. We don’t know the strength of the force in Charleville, but we have names such as Gardaí Early, Scannell, Fennell, Connolly and Kavanagh, on record.
“But we also know for certain that one of those was Garda James Mulroy, who was the first recipient of the Col. Walter Scott medal for valour, albeit for an act of valour, when he was stationed in Ennis, Co. Clare.
“Reference was made to his award at Charleville court when local solicitor James Binchy congrat ulated Garda Mulroy on behalf of his colleagues at the local barrack and the people of Charleville.
“In my memory I remember the Gardaí who occupied the barrack like Michael Corcoran, Michael Kennedy, Jim Spillane, Jim Hyland, Michael Flynn, Sgts. Duggan and Daly, Denis Cronin, the Kilmichael veteran. Later there was Sgts. Quilter and Matt Keane, with Gardaí Donal McSweeney, Michael O’Sullivan, Eddie O’Leary, Larry Buckley, Syl. Barrett and Jim Lowe, who spent all of his career in the force in Charleville. During all this time, Jim McAuliffe was the local District Court clerk.
“When the new Garda station was opened at Chapel Street, I recall that some of these moved into the new building and were later augmented by Gardai Jerry O’Neill, John Cook, Nick Phelan, George Finch, who was later sergeant, and other new members including Garda Helen O’Callaghan and the recently retired Sgt. Tom Moore and others.
“To-day, the local Garda force numbers twenty. The local Gardaí have an excellent relationship with other areas of the emergency services such as the Fire Brigade, First Responders, the medical and social services, representatives of which, are present here today to honour their colleagues.
“In Charleville and area the Gardaí have the grateful respect, support and goodwill of all the local residents of the town and district of this part of North Cork, as they preserve and protect the people and property within their jurisdiction.
“Over the years the methods of policing have evolved from the days of the bicycle to the modern computerisation and technology that is employed in solving crime, and the highly trained personnel that make up the modern force that we know and see in action daily on our television screens.
“We owe the Gardaá a great debt of gratitude for their dedication to duty and the many sacrifices they make in keeping the people safe, and on their behalf, I extend our sincere thanks to all the men and women who have served in Charleville since the inception of the force, and wish them every success for the future,” he said.
“Inspector Miriam McGuire of the Mallow District Gardaí said she was delighted to be in Charleville for the occasion and she thanked the Heritage Society for their initiative in celebrating the centenary of the Gardaí. “When growing up I would have heard my father, who was also in Mallow Garda Station, mention some of the names of the Charleville Gardaí that Ian Doyle called out. “Charleville Garda Station is regarded as a good place to work in, and only those who were transferred or promoted have ever left the station, so that speaks volumes for Charleville,” she said.
“Sister Bernadette Maria, speaking on behalf of the Society said;” The members of Charleville Heritage Society also join in celebrating the centenary of the establishment of the Gardai. Our members have always been treated with the utmost courtesy and co-operation when we have had occasion to contact the Gardaí, mainly regarding to our annual street collection, and more recently in verifying the veracity of the bones found in the Town Park. We are delighted to be proactively associated with this celebration here today, and we wish the local Gardaí continued success for the future.”
Charleville P.P., Very Rev. Donal Canon O’Mahony was on hand to perform the blessing of the tree and members of Charleville Brass and Reed Band played the National Anthem to bring the ceremony to a close.
Sgt. Toohey thanked everybody on behalf of the Charleville Gardaí for attending the ceremony, particularly Charleville Heritage Society for organising the event, Inspector Miriam McGuire, Cllr Ian Doyle, Canon O’Mahony and Canon Seán Cotter, Peace Commissioner Aileen Browne, and honorary Garda Billy Kiely, of the Little Blue Heroes and his family, the members of emergency services and the local brass and reed band for their attendance to celebrate and honour the centenary of the foundation of the Gardaí.