Police stations in Cork

Garda Cork City
An Garda Síochána means "the keeper of the peace" and is commonly referred to as Gardaí "guardians" or "the watchmen". It is the national police service of the Republic of Ireland, Cork. The Service is headed by Garda Commissioner, appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

Since the Garda Síochána was established in 1923, the police force has been predominantly unarmed and more than three-quarters of officers do not routinely carry firearms. As of 31 December 2019, the police force had 14,708 sworn members (including 458 sworn reserve members) and 2,944 civilian staff. Operationally, the Garda Síochána is divided into four geographical regions: East, North/West, South and Dublin Metropolitan Regions.

The police are the main law enforcement agency in the state and operate at a local and national level. Its functions include crime detection and prevention, drug enforcement, road traffic enforcement and accident investigation, as well as diplomatic and witness protection duties. It also provides a community policing service.

The service was originally called Civic Guard but was renamed An Garda Síochána in 1923, in both English and Irish. This is usually translated as "the keeper(s) of the peace". Garda Síochána na hÉireann appears on their logo, but is rarely used elsewhere. At this time it was fashionable to name the new institutions of the Irish Free State after their counterparts in the Third French Republic. The term "guardians of the peace" (gardiens de la paix) was used from 1870 in French-speaking countries to refer to civilian police forces distinct from the armed gendarmerie, notably the communal police in France, the communal guard in Belgium, and the cantonal police in Switzerland.

The full official name of the police is rarely used in usage. What it is called depends on the register used. It is known by the names An Garda Síochána, Garda Síochána, Garda, Gardaí (plural) and popularly as "the Guards". Although Garda is singular, it is used as a collective term in these terms, like the police.

An individual officer is referred to as a Garda (plural Gardaí) or, less formally, as a "guard" and is usually addressed as such by the public when on duty. A police station is called a Garda station. Garda is also the term for the lowest rank within the police force (e.g. "Garda John Murphy", analogous to the British term "constable" or the American "officer", "deputy", "trooper", etc.). A female officer used to be officially referred to as a "bangharda". This term was abolished in 1990 but is still used colloquially in place of the now gender-neutral garda.

Like other things to do in Cork you can always visit other places like restaurants and hospitals in Cork City.
Garda building Cork City

 Police stations in Cork, Ireland

Informations about Cork, Munster

Bus Stops in Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Cork Bus Station, Cork Parnell Place Bus Station Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in St Patrick's Street Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Drawbridge Street Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Western Road Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Upper John Street Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Southern Road Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in UCC Western Rd Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Patrick Street Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Meadow Ave Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in 98 Street Junction Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Cork City Bus Station (Parnell Place) Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Summerhill South Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stops in Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Cork Bus Station, Cork Parnell Place Bus Station Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Drawbridge Street Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in St Patrick's Street Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Upper John Street Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in UCC Western Rd Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Western Road Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Cork City Bus Station (Parnell Place) Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in St Patrick's Street Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in City Hall Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Lower Glanmire Road Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Washington Street Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Bus Stop in Victoria Road Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Map of Cork, Munster

Map of Cork City, Munster

Driving Directions in Cork, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Driving Directions from Anglesea Street Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from An Garda Síochána to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Blackrock Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Watercourse Road Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Garda Station, Togher to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Gurranabraher Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Bridewell Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Mayfield Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Blarney Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Douglas Garda Station(Stáisiún Garda Dúglas) to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Glanmire Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Carrigaline Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions in Cork City, Munster to Nosta Restaurant

Driving Directions from Anglesea Street Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from An Garda Síochána to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Watercourse Road Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Blackrock Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Garda Station, Togher to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Bridewell Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Gurranabraher Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Mayfield Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Blarney Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Douglas Garda Station(Stáisiún Garda Dúglas) to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Carrigaline Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Driving Directions from Glanmire Garda Station to 4 Marlborough St, Centre, Cork, T12 WN26, Ireland

Location of libraries in Cork City

Anglesea Street Garda Station

Anglesea Street Garda Station

Anglesea Street Garda Station Reviews

Bridewell Garda Station

Bridewell Garda Station

Bridewell Garda Station Reviews

Watercourse Road Garda Station

Watercourse Road Garda Station

Watercourse Road Garda Station Reviews

Garda Station, Togher

Garda Station, Togher

Garda Station, Togher Reviews

An Garda Síochána

An Garda Síochána

An Garda Síochána Reviews

Blackrock Garda Station

Blackrock Garda Station

Blackrock Garda Station Reviews

Facts about Cork City, Cork

From top, left to right: City Hall, the English Market, Quadrangle in UCC, the River Lee, Shandon Steeple
From top, left to right: City Hall, the English Market, Quadrangle in UCC, the River LeeShandon Steeple
Coat of arms of Cork
Coat of arms
The Rebel CityLeesideThe Real Capital
Statio Bene Fida Carinis(Latin)
"A safe harbour for ships"[1][2]
Location of Cork
Cork is located in Ireland
Location within Ireland
Coordinates: 51°53′50″N 8°28′12″WCoordinates51°53′50″N 8°28′12″W
State Ireland
Province Munster
Region Southern
County Cork
Founded 6th century AD
City rights 1185 AD
 • Type Cork City Council
 • Lord Mayor Deirdre Forde (FG)
 • Local electoral areas
  • Cork City North West
  • Cork City North East
  • Cork City South Central
  • Cork City South East
  • Cork City South West
 • Dáil constituency
 • European Parliament South
 • City 187 km2 (72 sq mi)
 • Urban 174 km2 (67 sq mi)
 • Metro 820 km2 (320 sq mi)
 • City 222,333[3]
 • Density 1,188/km2 (3,080/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Demonym Corkonian or Leesider
Time zone UTC0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+1 (IST)
T12 and T23
Area code 021
Vehicle index
mark code
Website www.corkcity.ie

Facts about Library

Garda Síochána

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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An Garda Síochána
Shield of An Garda Síochána
Shield of An Garda Síochána
Common name Gardaí
Motto Working with communities to protect and serve (IrishAg obair le Pobail chun iad a chosaint agus chun freastal orthu)[a]
Agency overview
Formed 22 February 1922[1]
Preceding agencies
  • 18,052 (total as of 2022)
  • 14,695 sworn members
  • 3,357 civilian staff
  • 401 reserves[2]
Annual budget €2.062 billion (2022)[3]
Legal personality Police force
Jurisdictional structure
National agency Ireland
Operations jurisdiction Ireland
Republic of Ireland without counties.svg
Garda Síochána area of jurisdiction in dark blue
Size 70,273 km2
Population 5,011,500 (2021)[4]
Constituting instrument
  • Garda Síochána Act 2005
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Garda Headquarters, Phoenix ParkDublin
Officers 14,695 incl. 401 reserves (2022)[2]
Civilians 3,357 (2022)[2]
Elected officer responsible
Agency executive
Stations 564[6]
Vehicles 2,815 (2017)[7]
Boats Garda Water Unit
  • 2 helicopters
  • 1 fixed-wing surveillance aircraft
Canines Garda Dog Unit
Horses Garda Mounted Unit
^ "Working with Communities to Protect and Serve" is described as mission statement rather than formal motto

An Garda Síochána (Irish pronunciation: [ənˠ ˈɡaːɾˠd̪ˠə ˈʃiːxaːn̪ˠə] (listen); meaning "the Guardian(s) of the Peace"), more commonly referred to as the Gardaí (pronounced [ˈɡaːɾˠd̪ˠiː]; "Guardians") or "the Guards", is the national police service of Ireland. The service is headed by the Garda Commissioner who is appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

Since the formation of the Garda Síochána in 1923, it has been a predominantly unarmed force, and more than three-quarters of the force do not routinely carry firearms.[8] As of 31 December 2019, the police service had 14,708 sworn members (including 458 sworn Reserve members) and 2,944 civilian staff.[2] Operationally, the Garda Síochána is organised into four geographical regions: the East, North/West, South and Dublin Metropolitan regions.[5]

The force is the main law enforcement agency in the state, acting at local and national levels. Its roles include crime detection and prevention, drug enforcement, road traffic enforcement and accident investigation, diplomatic and witness protection responsibilities. It also provides a community policing service.



The service was originally named the Civic Guard in English,[9] but in 1923 it became An Garda Síochána in both English and Irish. This is usually translated as "the Guardians of the Peace".[10] Garda Síochána na hÉireann ("of Ireland", pronounced [ˈɡaːɾˠd̪ə ˈʃiːxaːn̪ˠə n̪ˠə ˈheːɾʲən̪ˠ]) appears on its logo but is seldom used elsewhere. At that time, there was a vogue for naming the new institutions of the Irish Free State after counterparts in the French Third Republic; the term "guardians of the peace" (gardiens de la paix, literally 'peacekeepers') had been used since 1870 in French-speaking countries to designate civilian police forces as distinguished from the armed gendarmery, notably municipal police in France, communal guards in Belgium[11] and cantonal police in Switzerland.[12]

The full official title of the police service is rarely used in speech. How it is referred to depends on the register being used. It is variously known as An Garda Síochánathe Garda Síochána; the Garda; the Gardaí (plural); and it is popularly called "the Guards".[13] Although Garda is singular, in these terms it is used as a collective noun, like police.

An individual officer is called a garda (plural gardaí), or less formally, a "guard", and is typically addressed as such by members of the public when on duty.[14][15] A police station is called a garda stationGarda is also the name of the lowest rank within the force (e.g. "Garda John Murphy", analogous to the British term "constable" or the American "officer", "deputy", "trooper", etc.). A female officer was once officially referred to as a bangharda (pronounced [ˈbˠanˠˌɣaːɾˠd̪ˠə]; "female guard"; plural banghardaí). This term was abolished in 1990,[16] but is still used colloquially in place of the now gender-neutral garda.[15]

Coloquially, as a slang or derogatory term, they are sometimes referred to as 'the shades'.[17][18]


The service is headed by the Garda Commissioner, whose immediate subordinates are two deputy commissioners – in charge of "Policing and Security" and "Governance & Strategy", respectively – and a Chief Administrative Officer with responsibility for resource management (personnel, finance, Information and Communications Technology, and accommodation). There is an assistant commissioner for each of the four geographical regions, along with a number dealing with other national support functions. The four geographical Garda regions, each overseen by an assistant commissioner, are:[5]

  1. Dublin Metropolitan Region
  2. North-Western
  3. Eastern
  4. Southern
Rank Irish name Number of members at rank
2014[19] 2015[20] 2016[21] 2021[22]
Commissioner Coimisinéir 1 1 1 1
Deputy Commissioner Leas-Choimisinéir 0 2 2 2
Assistant Commissioner Cúntóir-Choimisinéir 8 5 8 8
Chief Superintendent Ard-Cheannfort 41 42 39 47
Superintendent Ceannfort 140 160 163 165
Inspector Cigire 300 247 300 425
Sergeant Sáirsint 1,946 1,835 1,915 1,944
Garda Garda 10,459 10,524 10,696 11,870
Reserve Garda Garda Ionaid 1,112 - 627 459

At an equivalent or near-equivalent level to the assistant commissioners are the positions of Chief Medical Officer, executive director of Information and Communications Technology, and executive director of Finance.

A group of Gardaí

Directly subordinate to the assistant commissioners are approximately 40 chief superintendents, about half of whom supervise what are called divisions. Each division contains a number of districts, each commanded by a superintendent assisted by a team of inspectors. Each district contains a number of sub-districts, which are usually commanded by sergeants.

Typically each subdistrict contains only one Garda station. A different number of Gardaí are based at each station depending on its importance. Most of these stations employ the basic rank of Garda, which was referred to as the rank of Guard until 1972. The most junior members of the service are students, whose duties can vary depending on their training progress. They are often assigned clerical duties as part of their extracurricular studies.

The Garda organisation also has approximately 2,000 non-officer support staff[21] encompassing a range of areas such as human resources, occupational health services, finance and procurement, internal audit, IT and telecommunications, accommodation and fleet management, scenes-of-crime support, research and analysis, training and general administration. The figure also includes industrial staff such as traffic wardens, drivers and cleaners. It is an ongoing government policy to bring the level of non-officer support in the organisation up to international standards, allowing more officers to undertake core operational duties.[citation needed]

Reserve Gardaí[edit]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 provided for the establishment of a Garda Reserve to assist the force in performing its functions, and supplement the work of members of the Garda Síochána.

The intent of the Garda Reserve is "to be a source of local strength and knowledge". Reserve members are to carry out duties defined by the Garda Commissioner and sanctioned by the Minister for Justice. With reduced training of 128 hours, these duties and powers must be executed under the supervision of regular members of the Service; they are also limited with respect to those of regular members.

The first batch of 36 Reserve Gardaí graduated on 15 December 2006 at the Garda College, in Templemore.[23] As of October 2016, there were 789 Garda Reserve members with further training scheduled for 2017.[24]


Garda Traffic Corps car
The two helicopters of the Garda Air Support Unit
Garda helicopter performing surveillance

Rank structure[edit]

Ranks of the Garda Síochána
Rank Commissioner Deputy
Surgeon Chief
Superintendent Inspector Sergeant Garda Garda reserve Student Student reserve
Irish name Coimisinéir Leas
Máinlia Ard-Cheannfort Ceannfort Cigire Sáirsint Garda Ionaid Mac Léinn Gharda Mac Léinn Ionaid
Max number[25] 1 3 12 1[note 1] 53 191 390 2,460 12,500
Insignia[27] Rank insignia of Garda Commissioner Rank insignia of Garda Deputy Commissioner Rank insignia of Garda Assistant Commissioner Rank Insignia of Garda Chief Superindendent Rank insignia of Garda Superintendent Rank insignia of Garda Inspector Garda Síochána-05-Sergeant.png Garda Síochána-04-Garda.png Garda Síochána-03-Reserve Garda.png Garda Síochána-02-Student Garda.png Garda Síochána-01-Student Reserve.png

garda allocated to detective duties, up to and including the rank of chief superintendent, is a detective and the word detective (IrishBleachtaire) is prefixed to their rank (e.g. detective sergeant, bleachtaire sáirsint). The detective moniker is not a rank but rather a role identification, a detective Garda and a Garda are the same rank.[28][29][30]


Most uniformed members of the Garda Síochána do not routinely carry firearms. Individual Gardaí have been issued ASP extendable batons and pepper spray as their standard issue weapons while handcuffs are provided as restraints.[31]

A member of the motorcycle unit of the Garda Síochána

The service, when originally created, was armed, but the Provisional Government reversed the decision and reconstituted the service as an unarmed police service. This was in contrast to the attitude of the British Dublin Castle administration, which refused appeals from the Royal Irish Constabulary that the service be disarmed.[32] In the words of first Commissioner, Michael StainesTD, "the Garda Síochána will succeed not by force of arms or numbers, but on their moral authority as servants of the people." This reflected the approach in the Dublin Metropolitan Police, which had also been unarmed, but did not extend to the CID detective branch, who were armed from the outset.

According to Tom Garvin such a decision gave the new force a cultural ace: "the taboo on killing unarmed men and women who could not reasonably be seen as spies and informers."[32]

Armed Gardaí[edit]

Garda Síochána Emergency Response Unit armed with an UZI submachine gun on duty in Dublin

The Gardaí is primarily an unarmed force; however, detectives and certain units such as the regional Armed Support Units (ASU) and the national Emergency Response Unit (ERU) are commissioned to carry firearms and do so. A website managed by the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa notes that there are "no specific legal provisions on use of firearms by the Gardai, which is predominantly an unarmed police service. Instead, the law provides an exemption from licensing requirements under the various Firearms Acts for a member of the Garda Síochána when on duty". [33]

The armed officers serve as a support to regular Gardaí. Armed units were established in response to a rise in the number of armed incidents dealt with by regular members.[34] To be issued with a firearm, or to carry a firearm whilst on duty, a member must be in possession of a valid gun card, and cannot wear a regular uniform.

Armed Gardaí carry Sig Sauer P226 and Walther P99C semi-automatic pistols. Armed intervention units and specialist Detective units carry a variety of primary weapons, including the Heckler & Koch MP7 personal defence weapon as the standard-issue weapon, alongside the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun.[citation needed]

In addition to issued pistols, less-lethal weapons such as tasers and large pepper spray canisters are carried also by the ERU.[35]

In December 2018, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan provided updated specifics.[36]

"Training is provided by Firearms Instructors attached to the Garda College and the Emergency Response Unit under the control of the Director of Training, Garda College. ... there are approximately 2700 personnel that are currently authorised to carry firearms. This can increase to approx. 3500 depending on operational requirements. ... Members attached to regular units and Detective units are trained in handguns only, namely Smith & Wesson revolver, Sig Sauer & Walther semi-automatic pistol. Specialist Units such as Emergency Response Unit and the Armed Support Unit are trained in Sig Pistol, H&K MP7 Sub-machine gun, Taser and 40mm direct impact munitions (Less Lethal options)".

In early April 2019, the Garda Representative Association called for 24-hour armed support units in every division across Ireland. In response, Minister Flanagan noted that "gardaí have had armed support for a long number of years. One of the great attributes of the [Garda Síochána], is the fact that it is in the main an unarmed police service. I think that's good and I would be concerned at attempts to ensure that the arming of the gardaí becomes commonplace." He did not support the GRA demands on a country-wide basis: "I think there is merit in ensuring that at a regional level, there can be an armed response should the circumstances warrant. And I'm thinking particularly in Drogheda where currently we have an armed support unit on the street in order to meet head-on what is a particularly nasty challenge."[37]

Diplomatic protection[edit]

The Garda Special Detective Unit (SDU) are primarily responsible for providing armed close protection to senior officials in Ireland.[38] They provide full-time armed protection and transport for the PresidentTaoiseachTánaisteMinister for JusticeAttorney GeneralChief JusticeDirector of Public ProsecutionsAmbassadors and Diplomats deemed 'at risk', as well as foreign dignitaries visiting Ireland and citizens deemed to require armed protection as designated so by the Garda Commissioner.[39] The Commissioner is also protected by the unit. All cabinet ministers are afforded armed protection at heightened levels of risk when deemed necessary by Garda Intelligence,[40] and their places of work and residences are monitored.[41] Former Presidents and Taoisigh are protected if their security is under threat, otherwise they only receive protection on formal state occasions.[42] The Emergency Response Unit (ERU), a section of the SDU, are deployed on more than 100 VIP protection duties per year.[43]


Garda Toyota Avensis

Garda patrol cars are white in colour, with a fluorescent yellow and blue-bordered horizontal strip, accompanied by the Garda crest as livery. Full or partial battenburg markings are used on traffic or roads policing vehicles. RSU/ASU vehicles also have Battenburg markings - as well as a red stripe denoting the fact that it is an armed unit. Unmarked patrol cars are also used in the course of regular, traffic and other duties. Specialist units, such as the ERU, use armoured vehicles for special operations.

The Garda Fleet management Section manages the vehicles, totalling approximately 2,750 in 2019, which are located in the various Garda Divisions and specialist units.[44]


Officers' Mess, Garda HQ
New Garda recruits salute the President of IrelandAn Tóstal, 1954

Prior to the creation of the Irish state, policing in Ireland had been undertaken by the quasi-military Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), with a separate and unarmed Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP). These were joined in 1919 by a parallel security force loyal to the provisional government, the Irish Republican Police. The early years of the new state saw a gradual process of incorporating these various pre-existing forces into a single centralised, nationwide and civilian organisation.

The Civic Guard was formed by the Provisional Government in February 1922 to take over the responsibility of policing the fledgeling Irish Free State. It replaced the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Irish Republican Police of 1919–22. In August 1922 the force accompanied Michael Collins when he met the Lord Lieutenant in Dublin Castle.[45]

The Garda Síochána (Temporary Provisions) Act 1923 enacted after the creation of the Irish Free State on 8 August 1923,[46] provided for the creation of "a force of police to be called and known as 'The Garda Síochána'".[47] Under section 22, The Civic Guard were deemed to have been established under and to be governed by the Act. The law therefore effectively renamed the existing force.

The seven-week Civic Guard Mutiny began in May 1922, when Garda recruits took over the Kildare Depot. It resulted in Michael Staines' resignation in September.

During the Civil War of 1922–23, the new Free State set up the Criminal Investigation Department as an armed, plain-clothed counter-insurgency unit. It was disbanded after the end of the war in October 1923 and elements of it were absorbed into the Dublin Metropolitan Police.

Garda directing traffic in Dublin during the 1960s

In Dublin, policing remained the responsibility of the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP, founded 1836) until it merged with the Garda Síochána in 1925. Since then the Garda has been the only civil police service in the state now known as Ireland. Other police forces with limited powers are the Military Police within the Irish Defence Forces, the Airport Police Service, and Dublin Harbour Police and Dún Laoghaire Harbour Police forces.

R.I.C. Barracks near the Depot headquarters, Phoenix Park, c.1865-1914

The headquarters, the Phoenix Park Depot in Dublin, consists of a series of buildings; the first of these were occupied in 1839 by the new Constabulary. Over subsequent years, additional buildings were added, including a riding school, chapel, infirmary and cavalry barracks; all are now used for other purposes. The new Garda Síochána started to occupy the Depot in early 1923. The facility also included a training centre but that was moved to McCan BarracksTemplemoreCounty Tipperary in the 1960s; it is now the Garda Síochána College.[48]

Scott Medal[edit]

First awarded in 1923, the Scott Medal for Bravery is the highest honour for bravery and valour awarded to a member of the Garda Síochána.[49] The first medals were funded by Colonel Walter Scott, an honorary Commissioner of the New York Police Department.[49] The first recipient of the Scott Medal was Garda James Mulroy.[50] Other notable recipients include Garda Patrick Malone of St. Luke's in Cork City who – as an unarmed Garda – disarmed Tomás Óg Mac Curtain (the son of Tomás Mac Curtain).

To mark the United States link, the American English spelling of valor is used on the medal. The Garda Commissioner chooses the recipients of the medal, which is presented by the Minister for Justice.

In 2000, Anne McCabe – the widow of Jerry McCabe, a garda who was killed by armed Provisional IRA bank robbers – accepted the Scott Medal for Bravery that had been awarded posthumously to her husband.[51]

The Irish Republican Police had at least one member killed by the RIC on 21 July 1920. The Civic Guard had one killed by accident 22 September 1922 and another was killed in March 1923 by Frank Teeling. Likewise 4 members of the Oriel House Criminal Investigation Department were killed or died of wounds during the Irish Civil War.[52] The Garda Roll of Honor lists 89 Garda members killed between 1922 and 2020.

Garda Commissioners[edit]

Main article: Garda Commissioner
Garda Commissioners
Name From Until Reason
Michael Staines February 1922 September 1922 resigned
Eoin O'Duffy September 1922 February 1933 dismissed[note 2]
Eamon Broy February 1933 June 1938 retired
Michael Kinnane June 1938 July 1952 died
Daniel Costigan July 1952 February 1965 resigned
William P Quinn February 1965 March 1967 retired
Patrick Carroll March 1967 September 1968 retired
Michael Wymes September 1968 January 1973 retired
Patrick Malone January 1973 September 1975 retired
Edmund Garvey September 1975 January 1978 replaced[note 3]
Patrick McLaughlin January 1978 January 1983 retired[note 4]
Lawrence Wren February 1983 November 1987 retired
Eamonn Doherty November 1987 December 1988 retired
Eugene Crowley December 1988 January 1991 retired
Patrick Culligan January 1991 July 1996 retired
Patrick Byrne July 1996 July 2003 retired
Noel Conroy July 2003 November 2007 retired
Fachtna Murphy November 2007 December 2010 retired
Martin Callinan December 2010 March 2014 resigned[53][54]

[note 5]

Nóirín O'Sullivan March 2014(acting)
November 2014 (permanent)[55]
September 2017 retired[56][note 6]
Dónall Ó Cualáin September 2017 (acting) September 2018
Drew Harris September 2018 -

The first Commissioner, Michael Staines, who was a Pro-Treaty member of Dáil Éireann, held office for only eight months. It was his successors, Eoin O'Duffy and Éamon Broy, who played a central role in the development of the service. O'Duffy was Commissioner in the early years of the service when to many people's surprise the viability of an unarmed police service was established. O'Duffy later became a short-lived political leader of the quasi-fascist Blueshirts before heading to Spain to fight alongside Francisco Franco's Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Broy had greatly assisted the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the Anglo-Irish War, while serving with the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP). Broy's fame grew in the 1990s when he featured in the film Michael Collins, in which it was misleadingly suggested that he had been murdered by the British during the War of Independence, when in reality he lived for decades and headed the Garda Síochána from 1933 to 1938. Broy was followed by Commissioners Michael Kinnane (1938–52) and Daniel Costigan (1952–65). The first Commissioner to rise from the rank of ordinary Garda was William P. Quinn, who was appointed in February 1965.

One later Commissioner, Edmund Garvey, was sacked by the Fianna Fáil government of Jack Lynch in 1978 after it had lost confidence in him. Garvey won "unfair dismissal" legal proceedings against the government, which was upheld in the Irish Supreme Court.[57] This outcome required the passing of the Garda Síochána Act 1979 to retrospectively validate the actions of Garvey's successor since he had become Commissioner.[58] Garvey's successor, Patrick McLaughlin, was forced to resign along with his deputy in 1983 over his peripheral involvement in a political scandal.

On 25 November 2014 Nóirín O'Sullivan was appointed as Garda Commissioner, after acting as interim Commissioner since March 2014, following the unexpected retirement of Martin Callinan. It was noted that as a result most top justice posts in Ireland at the time were held by women.[59] The first female to hold the top rank, Commissioner O'Sullivan joined the force in 1981 and was among the first members of a plainclothes unit set up to tackle drug dealing in Dublin.

On 10 September 2017 Nóirín O'Sullivan announced her retirement from the force and, by extension, Garda Commissioner. Upon her retirement, Deputy Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin was appointed Acting Commissioner pending a permanent replacement.[60] In June 2018, Drew Harris was named as this replacement, and officially appointed in September 2018 following Ó Cualáin's retirement.[61][62][63]

Past reserve forces[edit]

During the Second World War (often referred to in Ireland as "the Emergency") there were two reserve forces to the Garda SíochánaAn Taca Síochána and the Local Security Force.[64]

An Taca Síochána had the power of arrest and wore a uniform, and were allowed to leave the reserve or sign-up as full members of the Garda Síochána at the end of the war before the reserve was disbanded. The reserve was established by the Emergency Powers (Temporary Special Police Force) Order, 1939.

The Local Security Force (LSF) did not have the power of arrest, and part of the reserve was soon incorporated into the Irish Army Reserve under the command of the Irish Army.[65]

Inter-jurisdiction co-operation[edit]

Northern Ireland[edit]

The Patten Report recommended that a programme of long-term personnel exchanges should be established between the Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). This recommendation was enacted in 2002 by an Inter-Governmental Agreement on Policing Cooperation, which set the basis for the exchange of officers between the two services. There are three levels of exchanges:

  • Personnel exchanges, for all ranks, without policing powers and for a term up to one year
  • Secondments: for ranks Sergeant to Chief Superintendent, with policing powers, for up to three years
  • Lateral entry by the permanent transfer of officers for ranks above Inspector and under Assistant Commissioner

The protocols for these movements of personnel were signed by both the Chief Constable of the PSNI and the Garda Commissioner on 21 February 2005.[66]

Garda officers also co-operate with members of the PSNI to combat cross-border crime and can conduct joint raids on both jurisdictions. They have also accompanied politicians and officials from the Republic, such as the President, on visits to Northern Ireland.

Other jurisdictions[edit]

Since 1989, the Garda Síochána has undertaken United Nations peace-keeping duties.[67] Its first such mission was a 50 strong contingent sent to Namibia. Since then the force has acted in AngolaCambodiaMozambique, South Africa, and the former Yugoslavia. More recently, Garda members have served in Cyprus with UNFICYP, and in Kosovo with EULEX Kosovo.[67] The force's first fatality whilst working abroad was Sergeant Paul M. Reid, who was fatally injured while on duty with the United Nations UNPROFOR at "Sniper's Alley" in Sarajevo on 18 May 1995.[68]

Members of the Garda Síochána also serve in the Embassies of Ireland in London, The Hague, Madrid and Paris. Members are also seconded to Europol in The Hague, in the Netherlands and Interpol in Lyon, France. There are also many members working directly for UN and European agencies such as the War Crimes Tribunal.

Under an agreement with the British Government and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Garda Síochána and the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland are allowed to inspect the Sellafield nuclear facility in Cumbria, England.

Controversy and allegations involving the police service[edit]

The Gardaí have faced complaints or allegations of discourtesy, harassment and perjury.[69] A total of 1,173 complaints were made against the Gardaí in 2005,[70] with over 2000 complaints made in 2017.[71]

Some such incidents have attracted broad attention and resulted in a number of reform initiatives—such as those relating to Garda whistleblowers or which led to the Morris and Barr Tribunals.[72]

Mishandling of cases and complaints[edit]

The Kerry Babies case was one of the first public inquiries into the mishandling of a Garda investigation. Later, in the 1980s, the Ferns Report (an inquiry into allegations of clerical sexual abuse) described as "wholly inadequate" the handling of one of eight formal complaints made to Wexford gardaí, but noted that the remaining formal complaints were handled in an "effective, professional and sensitive" manner.[73]

The Gardaí were also criticised in the Murphy Report[74] in relation to the handing over of the case of Fr. Paul McGennis to Archbishop McQuaid by Commissioner Costigan.[75] Some very senior Gardaí were criticised for regarding priests as being outside their remit in 1960.[76] On 26 November 2009, then Commissioner Fachtna Murphy apologised for the failure of the Garda Síochána to protect victims of child abuse,[77] saying that inappropriate contact between gardaí and the Dublin Archdiocese had taken place at the time,[77] and later announced an examination into the report's findings.[78]

The Gardaí were criticised by the commission of investigation into the Dean Lyons case for their handling of the investigation into the Grangegorman killings. In his report, George Birmingham said that the Gardaí had used leading questions in their interviews with Lyons, and had failed to act on a suspicion that Lyons' confession was unreliable. For a period, the gardaí involved in the case failed to act on the knowledge that another man, Mark Nash, had confessed to the crime.[79]

Allegations resulting in Tribunals of Inquiry[edit]

In the 1990s and early 2000s the Garda Síochána faced allegations of corrupt and dishonest policing in County Donegal. This became the subject of a Garda inquiry (the Carty inquiry) and subsequent judicial inquiry (the Morris Tribunal). The Morris Tribunal found that some gardaí based in County Donegal had invented a Provisional IRA informer, made bombs and claimed credit for locating them, and attempted to frame Raphoe publican Frank McBrearty Junior for murder – the latter case involving a €1.5m settlement with the State.[80] A similar case saw a €4.5m judgement,[81] after another Donegal publican was wrongly convicted based on "perjured Garda evidence" and "a conspiracy to concoct false evidence" by the same Donegal-based gardaí.[82][83][84]

On 20 April 2000, members of the Garda Emergency Response Unit (ERU) shot dead 27-year-old John Carthy at the end of a 25-hour siege as he left his home in AbbeylaraCounty Longford with a loaded shotgun in his hands. There were allegations made of inappropriate handling of the situation and of the reliance on lethal force by the Gardaí. This led to a Garda inquiry, and subsequently, the Barr Tribunal. The official findings of the tribunal of inquiry, under Justice Robert Barr, were that the responsible sergeant had made 14 mistakes in his role as the negotiator during the siege, and failed to make real efforts to achieve resolution during the armed stand-off. It further stated however that the sergeant was limited by lack of experience and resources, and recommended a review of Garda command structures, and that the ERU be equipped with stun guns and other non-lethal options. The Barr tribunal further recommended a formal working arrangement between Gardaí and state psychologists, and improvements in Garda training.

During the mid-2010s, the Garda whistleblower scandal led to a tribunal of enquiry, and the resignations of two ministers for justice and two Garda commissioners.[85]

Allegations involving abuse of powers[edit]

One of the first charges of serious impropriety against the force rose out of the handling of the Sallins Train Robbery in 1976. This case eventually led to accusations that a "Heavy Gang" within the force intimidated and tortured the accused. This eventually led to a Presidential pardon for one of the accused.

In 2004, an RTÉ Prime Time documentary accused elements within the Garda of abusing their powers by physically assaulting people arrested. A retired Circuit Court judge (W. A. Murphy) suggested that some members of the force had committed perjury in criminal trials before him but later stated that he was misquoted, while Minister of State Dick Roche, accused Gardaí in one instance of "torture". The Garda Commissioner accused the television programme of lacking balance. The documentary followed the publication of footage by the Independent Media Centre showing scuffles between Gardaí and Reclaim the Streets demonstrators.[86] One Garda in the footage was later convicted of common assault, while several other Gardaí were acquitted.

In 2014, a debate arose relating to alleged abuse of process in cancelling penalty points (for traffic offences), and a subsequent controversy resulted in a number of resignations.[87]

In 2017, Dara Quigley, who lived with mental illness, was arrested for public nudity, an incident captured on CCTV. A garda went to the police station CCTV control room and recorded the incident on a phone, then shared it to a WhatsApp group including other Gardaí. The video was quickly shared to Facebook and went viral. Quigley took her own life several days later. The Garda elected not to charge the garda with a crime.[88]

Allegations involving cross-border policing and collusion with the IRA[edit]

The former head of intelligence of the Provisional IRA, Kieran Conway claimed that in 1974 the IRA were tipped off by "high-placed figures" within the Gardaí about a planned RUC Special Branch raid, which was intended to capture members of the IRA command. Asked if this was just a one-off example of individual Gardaí colluding with the IRA, Conway claimed: "It wasn't just in 1974 and it wasn't just concentrated in border areas like Dundalk, it was some individuals but it was more widespread."[89]

Following a recommendation from the Cory Collusion Inquiry, the Smithwick Tribunal investigated allegations of collusion following the 1989 killing of two Royal Ulster Constabulary officers by the Provisional IRA as they returned from a meeting with the Gardaí. The tribunal's report was published in December 2013,[90][91] and noted that, although there was no "smoking gun", Judge Smithwick was "satisfied there was collusion in the murders" and that "evidence points to the fact that there was someone within the Garda station assisting the IRA". The report was also critical of two earlier Garda investigations into the murders, which it described as "inadequate". Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter apologised "without reservation" for the failings identified in the report.[92][93]

The family of Eddie Fullerton, a Buncrana Sinn Féin councillor killed in 1991 by members of the Ulster Defence Association, criticised the subsequent Garda investigation,[94][95] and in 2006, the then Minister for Justice considered a public inquiry into the case.[96]

Operational management and finances[edit]

Gardaí at the site of the proposed Corrib gas refinery in ErrisCounty Mayo

Protests at the proposed Royal Dutch Shell Corrib gas refinery near ErrisCounty Mayo saw large Garda operations with up to 200 Gardaí involved.[97] By September 2008, the cost of the operation was €10 million, and by January 2009 estimated to have cost €13.5 million.[98] Some outlets compared this to the €20 million budgeted for operations targeting organised crime.[99] A section of road used by the protesters was allegedly dubbed "the Golden Mile" by Gardaí because of overtime opportunities.[100] Complaints were also made about Garda management and handling of the protests.[101][102]

In 2017, a number of reported operational issues (including handling of the Garda whistleblower scandal, falsified alcohol breath tests, and the finances of the Garda Training College) were referenced as contributors to the early retirement of then commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.[103][104]

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Gardai and Police?

Gardai are Irish police officers who have been trained to enforce the law. Their primary role is to protect the public and investigate crimes. Gardai wear green uniforms and drive marked patrol cars.

Police are members of any local, state, federal, or international law enforcement agency. They may work alone or in teams. Most police wear blue uniforms and drive unmarked vehicles.

What does the Gardai do?

The Gardai (Irish Police) are responsible for law enforcement in Ireland. Their primary role is to enforce the laws of the state, protect public safety, and preserve peace and order. In addition to their police duties, they have responsibilities related to firefighting, emergency medical services, search and rescue, traffic control, and disaster relief.

How many Gardai are there?

There are approximately over 17,500 members of the Gardai.

Are they armed?

No, Gardai are not allowed to carry firearms. However, they are permitted to use pepper spray and batons if necessary.

Are they allowed to use dogs?

Yes. Dogs are often used to sniff out drugs.

What does 'Garda' mean?

The Gardai (Irish Police) is the name given to the police force in Ireland. The Garda Síochána (also commonly referred to as the Gardaí) is the national police force. The name Garda Síochána in English means 'guardians of the peace'. The Garda Síochána has responsibility for carrying out all policing duties in the Irish State.
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