In this section you will find copies of recent speeches delivered by Commissioner Harris.
Ministers, invited guests, colleagues, families and friends.
You are all very welcome to Garda Headquarters here today as we unveil the newly refurbished Monument of Remembrance to the more than 1800 Garda personnel who have died whilst in service.
And today is about taking time to remember, to reflect, and to share our memories and stories of all those we have lost.
I want to especially welcome the families, friends and colleagues of those whose names are inscribed on the Monument.
To mark our 100th anniversary last year, we began a refurbishment process on the existing Monument of Remembrance here at Garda Headquarters so we can continue to commemorate and remember those personnel who died in service long into the future.
The result is a calm, dignified space that provides an opportunity to take some time to think of those we have lost and, importantly, keep their memories alive.
Sadly, there is one colleague who has not yet been recorded on this memorial, Garda Staci Daly, who passed away last week. Her name will soon be inscribed here. She, and her family, are in our thoughts and prayers.
Today, we have laid wreaths here in honour of all those who served in An Garda Síochána and, in doing so, served the people of Ireland.
As Commissioner, I want to acknowledge the contribution made by these individuals and remember their service to the State.
Their service involved sacrifice, dedication and professionalism.
Qualities that exemplify An Garda Síochána throughout our 101 year history.
The Monument of Remembrance is a visual reminder of the colleagues we lost too soon.
Among the names inscribed on the Monument are those of our colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their duties.
We also honour the sacrifice and service of these 89 Gardaí today, as we do every day.
This Monument of Remembrance honours all our colleagues who have died during the course of their careers with An Garda Síochána.
Today is a day that offers us time to commemorate those loved ones and all they achieved in life – inside and outside of An Garda Síochána.
Their lives meant so much to so their family, friends and colleagues.
I hope that every day as we pass this Monument that we think of those who are remembered here.
I also hope that it will inspire all Garda personnel to think of our own service and the crucial role we all play to keep people safe.
I want to thank the committee for their work in bringing this project to fruition.
I want to thank Garda Estate Management and the OPW who oversaw the works to the Monument.
This project was completed under the auspice of the Centenary Commemoration Steering Group, chaired by Deputy Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon.
Before we conclude, I invite you to take a moment now to think of our colleagues, our friends and our family members who died during their service in An Garda Síochána.
We can take comfort in knowing that each person we remember here today made a difference in the lives of others.
This Monument ensures that their contribution to policing in Ireland will never be forgotten.
We give thanks to God always for you all making mention of you in our prayers.
May they rest in peace.
I invite you to join me in a moment of reflection.
After the ceremony I extend an invitation to you all to visit the Monument and take some time to think of your loved ones, of colleagues, and friends.
I have no doubt there are a great many memories to share and I look forward to hearing them later on.
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Minister, Minister of State, Commissioner, Garda Members and Staff, family and friends of those we are honouring today.
Is cúis áthais agus bróid dom mar Uachtarán na hÉireann a bheith libh ag an ócáid thábhachtach seo agus muid ag léiriú hómós do na comhaltaí agus baill foirne cróga sin den Gharda Síochána a thug a mbeatha, agus iad i mbun seirbhíse beo mar chomhaltaí. In imeacht na mblianta, tá an Garda Síochána i gcroílár na hoibre le slándáil agus sábháilteacht an phobail, agus an stáit féin, a chinntiú le bliain agus céad anuas agus tá ár meas agus ár mbuíochas tuillte acu as a ndílseacht dá ndualgais.
Teastaíonn crógacht agus misneach ar leith le bheith i do bhall d’aon sheirbhís póilíneachta, agus ní eisceacht ar bith é an Garda Síochána agus, ar an drochuair, is rómhinic a mbhíonn baol agus contúirt ag baint leis an ngairm uasal sin.
Is ceart agus is mithid dúinn smaoineamh le mórmheas inniu ní amháin ar na comhaltaí cróga sin den Gharda Síochána sin a fuair bas agus iad i mbun oibre, ach ar a dteaghlaigh, a gcáirde, a gcomharsana agus a gcomhghleacaithe a fágadh faoi uallach bróin in a ndiaidh.
I am honoured to join with you today as we remember, and pay tribute to, all those who have lost their lives while serving in An Garda Síochána over the last one hundred and one years.
I am particularly pleased that so many family members and friends of those whose lives and service are being recalled are present as we share with you in remembering your loved ones – as we together publicly recognise not only the sacrifices which they have made, but also those sacrifices made by you, their families, through your support and understanding of their time given to the public welfare beyond their families.
As a society, we owe a particular debt of gratitude to all those who serve in An Garda Síochána, and in each of our emergency services.
All those who commit their working lives to An Garda Síochána contribute to the public good, protecting our citizens from harm and assisting them in what are often, for citizens and communities, their darkest, most painful moments.
As President of Ireland, on behalf of all the people of Ireland, I thank them for their service.
In remembering those taken in the most sudden of circumstances, in some cases most brutally, we are reminded of the bravery which is represented by all of those who have committed their lives to public safety, knowing that on any given day they may find themselves in the gravest of circumstances.
The work of An Garda Síochána over the last 100 years cannot be captured in any brief summary, nor in any narrow definition of policy. It includes all of the work of all those who have served in our communities over the last century, providing as they did, in so many practical and intangible ways, that comfort which so many have experienced in their moments of greatest loss, and from day to day assisting and protecting us not only when the worst calamities arise, but when they are being prepared, threatened or feared.
Those members whose lives and services are being recalled and honoured by the monument we stand before today includes each of those members of An Garda Síochána murdered in the line of duty. It calls to memory too those who lost their lives while rescuing others from our waters or assisting the public suffering, distressed and displaced in times of flooding, or again during the COVID-19 pandemic, while responding to emergency calls, and at so many times and the various conditions which we have collectively and individually faced.
May I commend An Garda Síochána for extending the monument’s reach beyond its original conception, including as it now does the names of all those Members and Staff of An Garda Síochána who have lost their lives in whatever circumstances while serving in the organisation, each one leaving behind grieving families, close friendships, and communities.
This is a deeply appropriate measure. While there is an outpouring of national loss each time a Member of An Garda Síochána is killed in the line of duty, the personal and collective grief experienced by all those who lose an individual at young age, in any circumstance, has a devastating effect on their colleagues, their community and, most of all, their family.
As President of Ireland, I have many times travelled to parts of Ireland where some of our citizens, their families and communities are experiencing deep trauma following a tragic loss of their loved ones.
In such circumstances, the Gardaí are so often at the forefront of those who are called on to help and support us as we deal with personal and communal devastation. It is therefore all the more upsetting to any community to lose such important members of their community in whom they have placed their trust. For each community that has lost a serving Garda, to any illness or in any circumstances, there is a deep feeling of loss. It is a loss that goes beyond that of their immediate family and reaches deep into the communities in which they have served.
It is so appropriate too that the monument recalls not just Garda Members, but also Garda Staff – it is a welcome recognition of the commitment to the public shown by all those who have lost their lives in service beyond the ranks of sworn personnel.
For the families of those working in An Garda Síochána, a death while in service is the ultimate loss in a career which, as I have already noted, has been defined by great personal and family sacrifice.
As each Garda family here today knows, there is both tremendous pride in sharing your loved one with their vocation, but also a great weight. For many, it has involved a migration, leaving your home community and your immediate family and friends.
It is a life of knowing that each day your loved one may face incomprehensible challenges, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. The knowledge that their job will demand that they cannot always be there when you may wish them to be, but that they must be there daily for families throughout your adopted communities.
It is that willingness to give beyond the self, to earn trust in the broader sense of serving the community, that I believe is the strength of An Garda Síochána. It is a tradition not simply or narrowly of coercive control, but of community support and service.
As we are all aware, An Garda Síochána emerges from a complex history – inevitably complex in the sense of the historical context of the times. There were often difficult relationships which the public experienced and would come to experience with the different policing organisations of those decades, of its birth at the onset of a time of Civil War, and in the complex early days of the organisation itself.
From that complex history, and indeed informed by it, emerged a police service to which we have been able to entrust our safety. The transition to a largely unarmed civil authority, when it came, is an important part of the history of the foundation of the State, and An Garda Síochána has proven itself throughout its history as an organisation to which so many citizens have been happy to place their trust, turn to and acknowledge assistance.
It is important too that we remember that, throughout our history, achieving trust, being accepted as a defender of the public good has been, and remains, a continuing challenge. There have been those who have not always felt that the police service represented them, or was on their side. There are, I recognise, particular communities and groups who felt they have not been as protected as they should. I very much welcome the work which An Garda Síochána has done, and is doing today, to demonstrate to our Travelling community, to our young people, to our migrant populations and to all those marginalised groups who may have held or who hold such doubts that they too are being served by An Garda Síochána, are represented by them, and have a place in serving within An Gárda Síochána.
The inheritors of the tradition to which I have referred are today’s Garda Members and Staff, women and men who play such a vital role as community Gardaí, serving our young and diverse society, protecting victims of domestic violence, dealing with the new challenges which we face - from white collar crime to cyber security, new and revived forms of discrimination and abuse, and all those other means by which our safety can be put at risk.
I welcome the work which is being done between An Garda Síochána and other police services towards ensuring that we each learn what is best practice in working with all sections of our population towards our collective safety and in ever-changing circumstances. Indeed, I was very pleased that one of the earliest receptions which I was able to hold after being elected as President of Ireland was to welcome those participating in the 6th European Gay Police Association conference to Áras an Uachtaráin in 2012.
It is in building that inclusive, open, diverse society to which we all aspire, in providing safety, comfort and the assurance of a life without harassment or harm, that we can most appropriately honour the more than 1,800 women and men named on this monument which we are re-dedicating today.
On behalf of the people of Ireland, may I thank all of you, their family members, for sharing them with us as they dedicated their lives to our service. We remain in their debt, and in yours.
Mo bhuíochas libh is beir beannacht.
Good afternoon Minister McEntee, Mr Charles Moore [OPW], Fr O’Keefe, colleagues, invited guests,
You are very welcome to Rathcormac Garda Station today on what is an important day for the community and for An Garda Síochána, as we re-open this newly refurbished historic building to the public.
Firstly, I would like to thank the Department of Justice, the Office of Public Works, as well as the Garda Estate team, and local divisional management and personnel for their commitment in delivering this project.
Rathcormac Garda Station first opened on November 8, 1923, so almost 100 years ago now.
There is no doubt that Rathcormac Garda Station has played a valuable role in this town and surrounding communities since then.
But, like any old building, Rathcormac Garda Station, was in need of repairs and upgrading.
Recognising the importance of this station to the community and the building’s significance in town life, a refurbishment programme commenced on October 5, 2022. This was to ensure the Garda Station and the service we provide to the public would remain an important cornerstone of this community.
The works themselves took approximately five months to complete and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the community for their patience during the intervening months. And I want to reassure them that these works have enabled us to enhance the policing service provided here in North Cork.
The refurbishment programme has not only repaired and modernised this historic building, but it has secured this station’s future here in Rathcormac by enhancing its facilities and capabilities.
I am also delighted to see that this programme of works has ensured that the station is now wheelchair accessible, and the public office now has the ability to cater for persons with hearing impairments.
An Garda Síochána is committed to safeguarding our environment and meeting the targets set out in the Climate Action Plan 2023.
As part of our commitment we are investing in energy efficient buildings, and in electric vehicles, and today I am glad to say that with the reopening of Rathcormac Garda Station we are demonstrating this.
This station, for instance, will be one of the first Garda facilities in the Southern Region to have an electric vehicle and an electric vehicle charging point.
And, while things change and improve, as has been evident for the nearly 100 years we have had a presence in Rathcormac, the fundamentals of how we police has not changed.
Community-based policing has been integral to how we effectively engage with the public, as well as how we keep communities safe, here in Rathcormac, and across the country.
This has been the golden thread that has run through our 101 years of existence and continues to this day.
When this station first closed for refurbishment, there was just one Garda based here.
I am glad to see that now it has reopened, two Gardaí will be based at Rathcormac Garda Station going forward. Garda John Noonan and Garda Tim O’Donovan, who have already been serving this community while based from Watergrasshill.
I have no doubt that these upgraded facilities coupled with the Gardaí here will enhance the service delivered to this community now and into the future.
An Garda Síochána remains committed to community policing and the investment in Rathcormac Garda Station is a prime example of this.
Today’s re-opening is a positive reflection of our dedication to providing a modern professional and responsive policing service to the people of Ireland.
I know that these facilities will further strengthen our capabilities here in County Cork, as an effective and efficient police service dedicated to guarding the peace and upholding the rule of law.
15th March 2023
Statement from Garda Commissioner Drew Harris
Today is a sombre day, in particular for Colm Horkan’s family and friends, and for everybody in Colm’s wider Garda family.
An Garda Síochána notes the verdict of the jury today for the Capital Murder of Detective Garda Colm Horkan.
Colm went to work in Castlerea Garda Station on the 17th June 2020. It was a routine day’s work for Colm.
Colm was murdered on duty and never came home to his family.
Colm’s death reinforces to every member of An Garda Síochána the reality of the dangers and the uncertainty of the work that we face every day.
I want to pay tribute to the Garda investigation team in Castlerea Garda station, supported by the wider Garda organisation, that professionally investigated all the circumstances of Colm’s murder.
That investigation is a tribute to the professionalism of An Garda Síochána and to Colm.
Finally, today we stand with and support Colm’s father Marty, his siblings, wider family and friends and we remember his mother Dolores and twin sister Colette.
Today, as every day, we remember our colleague Colm who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the local community he served so well.
He will always be remembered as the kind, caring man, and professional and empathetic Garda, that he was.
I am delighted to be here with you today on St Patrick’s Day as we mark 30 years of An Garda Síochána peacekeeping in Cyprus.
Over the decades, members of An Garda Síochána have made an incredible contribution to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
They have done so by adopting the same community policing model as we use at home.
They interact with people professionally, and with empathy, regardless of the circumstances that exist in the area they are working in.
Members from An Garda Síochána first took up duty with the UN in Cyprus in 1993, and at that time the UN civilian police was made up of 15 Gardaí of various ranks and Police Officers from the Australian Police.
Today, the civilian police, who are now known as UNPOL, come from 18 different countries and has a total of 69 members.
Since 1993, 452 Garda personnel have served in Cyprus.
I know from speaking to the United Nations that when they consider new or expanded peacekeeping missions that An Garda Síochána is one of the first organisations they turn to for policing personnel.
An Garda Síochána is Irish for the Guardians of the Peace, and so it is fitting to know that 30 years later we are the longest serving police organisation attached to this UN peacekeeping mission.
That is a testimony to the great work that you are doing and that your colleagues did before you. We are all be very proud of that.
This mission also gives Gardaí the opportunity to work collaboratively with other international policing organisations. This allows for a greater understanding of how other policing services operate and affords us the chance to learn from each other.
Cultural exchanges also take place and today is one such occasion when we share some of our home traditions, food and culture with the local community and other nations serving here.
I know too, that the people here have come to recognise the Garda uniform and through their interactions with our officers trust in our service.
Trust has been gained through our positive engagements with communities on the ground and in the level of service being delivered.
Thankfully the situation in the buffer zone is usually calm, but I am also aware that this calm is easily disturbed when difficulties arise.
Only recently our personnel were involved in organising the detonation of a mortar found in the buffer zone.
This mission is all about community policing, something An Garda Síochána specialises in.
This is based on our tradition of policing by consent as an unarmed police service.
Our experience is derived from developing close connections with Irish communities.
This approach is replicated here in Cyprus, as our team uses words, not force, to resolve conflict.
Although An Garda Síochána’s typical term here is one year, our Gardaí become embedded in the community during their time here.
They get to know the public they serve, and work closely with them to resolve any discord. They return home at the end of their term knowing they have made an important contribution to peace building, protecting human rights, and maintaining law and order.
Finally, I will conclude by saying, serving overseas has its own unique challenges for you personally, as well as professionally.
Thank you for the great work you do here on behalf of Ireland, the UN and the people of Cyprus.
I also want to acknowledge your families for the support they give you. Without that support it would not be possible for you to do this important work.
The skill and professionalism of Gardaí in establishing trusted relationships with communities, on both sides of conflict, is a powerful demonstration of how An Garda Síochána, whether at home or abroad, uses its approach to policing to keep people safe.
I wish you all a Happy St Patrick’s Day and look forward to meeting with you afterwards.
Issue Date: 21 March 2023
The Garda Commissioner has today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Justice Simon Harris TD that the latest Garda recruitment competition will open on 24 March 2023.
Candidates can apply at www.publicjobs.ie from 00.01 24 March 2023 until 15.00 on 14 April 2023.
The competition will be run by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of An Garda Síochána.
Commissioner Harris said, "Being a Garda is a great job. You get to make a real difference in people’s lives. Policing is in an honourable career and an extension of good citizenship. Every day, Gardaí keep communities and people safe through our unique approach to policing by consent.
"It is a tough job that has its challenges, but what you will get out of it in terms of job satisfaction far outweighs those.
"An Garda Síochána is an increasingly diverse organisation. We have one of the highest rates of female officers in Europe and in our last Garda competition more than 20 per cent of applicants were from minority communities.
"However, we recognise that we have more to do in this regard to meet our aim of being fully representative of the people we serve. We want, and need, people from all backgrounds and communities to be Gardaí, and I would ask them to please apply. This is the only way we will get the representation among our ranks that communities need and deserve.
"We also want to attract people who have gone overseas to come back and be a Garda. This is a great opportunity to make a positive impact on the country you grew up in.
"As I have said before, we want to not only meet the Government target of 15,000 Gardaí, but given population growth and demographic change, as well as the rapidly changing nature of crime, I believe there is a strong case for more than 15,000 Gardaí.”
It is intended that there will be annual Garda recruitment competitions.
To promote the recruitment competition, a €550,000 (ex VAT) promotional campaign under the tagline of "It’s A Job Worth Doing” will go live across TV, national and local print and radio, online, social media, and outdoor from 24 March 2023. The campaign will also target Irish people living in countries such as the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The campaign is based on insights from Gardaí and features real-life examples from individual Gardaí of how they have helped people and communities.
The campaign aims to show the nature of the job – working at 4am, making arrests, being physical active, as well as the significant personal and social benefits such as engaging with communities, arresting criminals, helping victims of crime, and the camaraderie of colleagues.
Commissioner Harris added, "Being a Garda is not for everybody. It requires working late nights and early mornings. Having to get into physical confrontations. Being active. We want to make that clear to people right up front so that we attract high quality candidates who will thrive in a career as a Garda. I’m confident that there are many people out there who have the skills and attitude to make excellent Guards, and this is a great opportunity to join us and make a real difference.”
The media and creative for the advertising campaign was produced by Core and Spark Foundry in conjunction with H2 Films.
28th March 2023
Statement from Garda Commissioner Drew Harris
Good morning, you are all very welcome to the launch of BikeSafe.
I’d like to welcome Liz O’Donnell, Chair of the Road Safety Authority, and Keith Synnott, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, who will speak a little later on.
An Garda Síochána recognises that motorcyclists are amongst the most vulnerable on our roads. But, our roads are a shared space to be respected by all road users.
Tragically, in the last five years, more than 90 people on motorbikes have died on our roads and many more have been seriously injured in collisions.
For many of those motorcyclists this has resulted in life changing injuries that has had a devastating impact on them and on their loved ones.
There are steps we can all take to improve road safety for all. Each and every one of us has a part to play.
The goal of Bike Safe is to heighten motorcyclists’ awareness to the daily perils that are encountered on Irish roads. With the ultimate goal to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injury collisions involving them.
There are two strands to this new programme. A workshop and an on-road assessed journey.
The workshop is intended to share knowledge of previous experiences and to learn from them. Ultimately increasing motorcyclist’s awareness. It includes guidance on cornering, positioning and hazard perception.
Our Advanced Garda Motorcyclists then accompany participants on an on-road assessed journey. This is followed by a lessons learnt discussion leading to a certificate of attendance.
This gives motorcyclists a unique opportunity to spend time with our Advanced Garda Motorcyclists, each sharing their knowledge and experiences of riding on our roads.
Initiatives like BikeSafe play an important role and contribute towards reducing deaths and serious injuries on Irish roads.
Today’s launch of BikeSafe in Ireland has been the result of close collaboration with our partners in the Road Safety Authority and also UK BikeSafe.
Both have provided invaluable support to get to where we are today. My thanks to them for this.
With the clocks going forward I’m conscious that now is the time that many motorcyclists will be returning to the roads after the winter months.
Before you set out, I’d like to remind you to ensure that your motorcycle is in good running order prior to each journey. With particular attention to tyres and brakes.
And for other roads users to have an increased awareness of the possibility of an oncoming motorcyclist.
We all have our part to play.
Opening of Dublin Metropolitan Regional Control Room (DMR) Friday, May 5th, 2023
Speech by Garda Commissioner at the opening of the Dublin Metropolitan Regional Control Room
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Ministers, Mr. Jim Meade, Lord Mayor, invited guests, colleagues,
Thank you for joining with us today at this new facility as we officially open the Regional Control Centre for the Dublin Metropolitan Region.
This relocated control centre will provide the base for all 999 calls and all calls for assistance for the Dublin Metropolitan Region.
This regional control centre operates on a 24/7 basis, answering between 800 to 1,000 calls per day.
It is the busiest of our four regional control centres.
There are approximately 100 Garda personnel currently attached to the Regional Control Centre.
This call and dispatch centre acts as the nerve centre to Garda operations in the Dublin Metropolitan Region.
The dedicated personnel working here are the people at the frontline who take what can be the most challenging and time-sensitive calls.
Very often they deal with exceptionally difficult situations.
But our team here play an invaluable role by being on the end of the phone.
They are with that person, guiding them, and conveying that reassuring message that help is on the way.
Our regional control centre took up operations here at the National Train Control Centre in mid-November 2022. This was after more than 40 years at Harcourt Square.
The personnel here will move away from the present CAD system to a new computer aided dispatch software system called GardaSAFE.
GardaSAFE has already been rolled out in the North Western Region and on Wednesday of this week the Southern Region began using the application.
It is expected that GardaSAFE will be in use here at this control room in the early Autumn.
Recommendations in a recent Policing Authority report, as well as those identified in An Garda Síochána’s internal review have informed the design of the new CAD system, GardaSAFE.
Additional training has also been put in place and additional staff have been allocated to the Regional Control rooms.
What is unique about this new regional control room is we will be joined in the building by other agencies and organisations.
Dublin City Council will host their control rooms here. While Iarnród Éireann / Irish Rail will have its operations control room and emergency strategic command centre just below us on the second floor.
We will share the building with personnel from these other agencies. This will foster greater communication and collaboration.
To conclude, this move will provide for more efficient delivery of service.
It will result in greater inter-agency co-operation, particularly in the area of major event management and major emergency response.
It will give us the capacity to expand and grow.
It marks another step forward in the ongoing modernisation of An Garda Síochána and fulfilling our role to keep people safe.
Date: 20 May 2023
Ministers, Colleagues, Families and Friends,
You are all very welcome and thank you for joining with us today in the beautiful surroundings of Dubhlinn Gardens for our annual Garda Memorial Day.
I also want to thank the Office of Public Works for their constant attention and upkeep of this beautiful garden, which has a very special place in the heart of our organisation.
A special thanks also to Father Joe Kennedy and Archdeacon David Pierpoint, the Garda Band, and Garda Choirs, Odhrán O’ Casaide, Sibéal Ní Chasaide, Róisin Ní Chasaide, Fiona Greyson and all who contributed to making today’s service such a special occasion.
We gather today to remember our 89 colleagues, who lost their lives in the service of the State and we especially remember their families and loved ones on what is a poignant day for them.
There are, unfortunately, occasions when members of An Garda Síochána are asked to carry out the most difficult duties – that of putting their lives on the line to ensure the safety of others.
Many of us here today sadly know the devastating impact that this has on families, and loved ones.
It is a day to commemorate and celebrate the lives of the 89 courageous Gardaí who laid down their lives in pursuit of justice and fairness.
Today is a day that offers us time to reflect, to pause, and most importantly to remember.
It is a day when we in An Garda Síochána honour these brave Gardaí who gave their lives to serve and protect the communities they worked in and to keep people safe.
It is a day to share stories, experiences, memories, and thoughts with one another, so that we don’t ever forget the loved ones we have lost.
Today we celebrate those loved ones and all they achieved in life – inside and outside of An Garda Síochána. Their lives meant so much to so many.
It is reassuring to see the level of public support for An Garda Síochána. I want to thank the public for the support shown to Detective Garda Colm Horkan’s family in the aftermath of his murder and the recent trial. I know this has been a comfort to them.
For many of you here today this year is particularly significant.
To the family of Sgt James Woods, thank you for being here as you mark the 100th anniversary of James murder.
We remember too Garda Eugene McCarthy, whose 90th anniversary of his death occurs this year.
Our thoughts are also with the families of Garda James Doody and Garda John Lally, who were killed 50 years ago.
Gardaí go to work every day never knowing what challenges that day might bring.
They do so knowing that their job is to protect society, to serve the public in pursuit of justice, and to keep people safe.
Gardaí do this work out of to help people, and they do so in the face of danger and fear.
It is a job they do with honour and pride, and comes from a place deep within.
Each Garda we remember here today made a difference in the lives of others. They fulfilled their duty in keeping people safe, going above and beyond with diligence and impartiality.
Our fallen colleagues epitomised every one of An Garda Síochána’s distinct values. Fairness. Integrity. Empathy. Professionalism.
I know there are many days when it can be difficult to cope with your loved ones passing and on those days please know that we are here for you.
Those men we honour here today were proud of their service, and I know you share that pride in the work they did in the service of others.
Every day they showed their bravery by standing firm in the face of danger.
Their actions had a real impact on people’s lives, and every day they made a difference.
Let me reassure you that these remarkable Gardaí who gave their lives in service of the State are not forgotten.
It is the responsibility of all Gardaí to ensure their legacy lives on through our actions and deeds every day, and through the continued commemoration of their lives on days like today.
Lord Mayor, Minister, Colleagues,
You are very welcome here today as we formally open the Regional Office for the Dublin Metropolitan Region at its new location here at Dublin Castle.
Dublin Castle has had a long history as a base for policing, not just in Ireland’s capital city but for the country as a whole.
It is symbolic too for us as an Organisation. It was from here more than a century ago that the first Garda Commissioner Michael Staines walked through the gates to lead An Garda Síochána for the very first time.
The Dublin Metropolitan Region today is a vibrant, multicultural, and diverse part of the country, attracting visitors from all over the world.
In addition to the busy commercial Capital City, there are 50 hospitals, and 600 schools in this region. Dublin is also home to the houses of the Oireachtas and international embassies.
Members of An Garda Síochána support the effective operation of the both the Civil and Criminal Courts of Justice ensuring the rule of law is upheld.
It is therefore fitting that the base of operations for the Assistant Commissioner with responsibility for overseeing policing across the seven divisions in the DMR is located here in Dublin Castle.
It also accommodates her regional administrative team. Meanwhile the DMR Roads Policing Unit continues to be based here.
Today we also mark the relocation of a number of other specialist units and teams to the building.
These include: The Dublin Crime Response Team, the Garda Síochána Analysis Service (GSAS) for the DMR, Regional Source Management Unit, and the DMR Tasking and Co-ordination Unit.
Since officers have been based at Dublin Castle, the approach to policing Ireland’s capital city has evolved and adapted to the changing needs of its people.
The breadth of duties have shifted considerably through the decades, particularly while working in a busy urban city with a rising population of over 1.45 million people.
The responsibilities of Garda personnel now also extend into many areas – locally, nationally and internationally – as a major hub of activity.
Going forward this regional office will act as a central strategic base of operations, and will be supported by the co-location of key specialised units.
It will enable for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to policing, ensuring we can work more efficiently and respond quickly to emerging trends.
This is the 6th facility I have opened in the last year between stations, Walter Scott House, and the DMR Control Centre.
And so it is a mark of how we continue to advance the development of our estate and modernise our service to the public.
Historically, Gardaí in Dublin have made a considerable contribution to ensure that Ireland’s capital city is safe and protected.
Those that work across the Dublin region often navigate very complex elements of policing.
I am very pleased to see the full senior command team from the DMR here.
And I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your continued leadership in support of keeping our communities safe.
The newly opened DMR Office will further strengthen An Garda Síochána’s capabilities in Dublin to deliver a policing service that Ireland can continue to be proud of.
The development of community-based policing has played an integral part in how we effectively engage with the public, as well as how we keep communities safe.
We continue to strengthen our service by policing in partnership with people.
This includes continued collaboration with our partners in Government, State agencies, as well as non-governmental organisations, charity organisations, and voluntary groups right across the DMR. This forms a very important part of our work.
Today’s opening is a positive reflection of our dedication to providing a modern policing service to the people of Ireland.
It will also mean An Garda Síochána will continue to have a permanent presence here in Dublin Castle.
I know that these facilities will further strengthen our capabilities as an effective and efficient police service dedicated to guarding the peace and upholding the rule of law.
Issue date: 10th March 2023
An Taoiseach, Ministers, Elected Representatives, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen
I am very pleased to welcome you all here to mark the opening of our O’Connell Street Garda Station.
From the outset, I would like to take the opportunity to remember our colleague who very sadly passed away on Saturday last.
Inspector Brian Cullen was a well-known, highly regarded member of An Garda Síochána here in Dublin City.
He dedicated over 30 years of his life to serving the people of Ireland with distinction, and proudly supported the North East Inner City community of residents and businesses through his work in the Bridewell station.
He had a great passion also for the GAA and his local club Whitehall Colmcille where he contributed so much good.
I know that you will join me in sending our condolences to Brian’s family – his wife Dympna and all the Cullen family.
May he rest in peace.
The opening of this station is one of a number of measures that An Garda Síochána has taken to re-assure all those that live, work or visit in and around the main street in our capital city that your local Gardaí are here to keep you safe.
The rate of crime in the city centre has in fact reduced in the past five years.
However, we recognise that for some this has not translated into an increased feeling of safety.
To help address this, we introduced Operation Citizen in October 2021.
Operation Citizen places a particular focus on detecting and preventing anti-social behaviour, public order, assaults, and high-volume crimes at several key locations.
Since Operation Citizen’s inception, An Garda Síochána has:
- Made over 10,500 arrests
- Proffered more than 18,000 Charges
- Applied for nearly 8,300 Summonses
- Conducted in excess of 11,300 patrols
- Seized €6.1 million worth of drugs and just under €2m in cash.
On a daily basis, the dedicated Operation Citizen Unit is supported by mobile patrols from central Dublin Garda stations, additional foot and mobile bike patrols in the city centre on weekend evenings, as well as patrols when required by the specialist units such as Regional Armed Support Unit, National Public Order Unit, and Mounted and Dog Units.
Very often there are plain clothes and uniformed Gardaí working along O’Connell Street, adjacent streets and along the boardwalks.
We have an extensive CCTV room operating 24/7 in the division that allows us to monitor and ensure a prompt response to serious incidents.
The operation is monitored on a daily basis by the Chief Superintendents of the DMR South Central and North Central Divisions together with the Superintendents with responsibility for Store Street and Pearse Street Garda Districts.
Illegal drugs, those who supply them, and the criminal and anti-social behaviour that is associated with them, remains a critical issue that requires our constant focus.
The impact of this on any area cannot be underestimated.
And the city centre has not been immune from feeling these effects.
To tackle street-level dealing of drugs in urban areas such as O’Connell Street, Operation Tara was commenced nationwide in July 2021.
For this area, this involves daily co-ordination between our dedicated Divisional Drugs Unit in Store Street, the Crime Task Force, Community Response Team (CRT), Community Policing, and the Regular Unit.
Operation Tara has resulted in seizures and arrests have protected people and communities from the harm of drugs.
In the past week alone, 87,500 Benzodiazepine tablets with an estimated value of €175,000 were seized in this area as was €20,000 worth of illegal drugs along with €6,500 cash.
This is a very busy district that has dozens of licensed premises, massive daily footfall and a substantial number of public transport routes running through it, but we are incredibly fortunate to have such a high calibre of Garda personnel working in the Store Street District.
Our new location here on O’Connell Street will support their work in overcoming these challenges.
But we must not be under any illusions.
For us to truly tackle anti-social behaviour we need to work in partnership with all the relevant agencies and supports.
To prevent future generations engaging in similar unlawful and unruly behaviour in public spaces especially, along with our partners, we invest considerable time and resources into the Partnership Approach to Community Engagement (PACE).
This programme aims to help deter young people across the DMR that may look to drugs to use themselves or to profit from the supply to others.
By working closely with communities and engaging with young people, PACE has developed successful local initiatives including Late Night Soccer Leagues, the DMR Teenagers and Gardaí (TAG) programme, and Garda Youth Diversion Projects.
We are also cognisant of the vulnerabilities of many of the individuals we engage with day-to-day.
In some cases, their circumstances do not always support them to make positive life choices and this can make them more susceptible to illegal drugs, criminality and anti-social behaviour.
The development of community-based policing has played an integral part in how we effectively engage with these people, as well as how we keep communities safe.
We continue to strengthen our service based on our strong tradition of policing by consent.
Policing in partnership with people.
Our continued collaboration with non-governmental organisations, charity organisations, and voluntary groups from across this area is a very important element of our work.
We also work closely with Dublin City Council, State agencies, the local business community, and representative organisations on a range of initiatives to encourage people to visit and enjoy Dublin city centre.
I want to thank them all for their ongoing help and support for our work.
And just like the many other brilliant advocates that champion the inner city, An Garda Síochána want to see this area thrive, and for the people who visit, live and work here to feel secure.
Over the coming week, Dublin will welcome more than 400,000 visitors into the city between the St Patrick’s Day Festival and the Six Nations rugby.
And we will be working around the clock as always to keep people safe during their time here.
Today’s opening is a positive reflection of our dedication to pro-active policing.
And, in spite of the changing nature of crime, An Garda Síochána remains as strong as its excellent people.
I am very proud of the work done by Gardaí here in Dublin City Centre, and nationwide.
I would like to thank all those who worked to see this purpose-fitted station opened including the Office of Public Works, the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Justice, as well as the Garda Estate team and local divisional management and personnel for their commitment in following through on this important project.
A special word of thanks also to the Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS) who we look forward to working with in this building in assisting the general public and visitors to the city centre.
I know that these facilities will further strengthen our capabilities as an effective and efficient police service dedicated to guarding the peace and upholding the rule of law.
Issue Date: 23rd January 2023
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris met this evening with the four Garda representative associations at their request on the issues of assaults on Gardaí and recruitment.
At the meeting, as he has done repeatedly, Commissioner Harris condemned these assaults and outlined that the organisation would be seeking to procure enhanced and additional safety equipment for Gardaí, and provide them with further training.
Commissioner Harris once again outlined his support for the introduction of body cams.
On the issue of recruitment, Commissioner Harris said that An Garda Síochána had experienced a drop in the number of Gardaí as a result of COVID-19 restrictions on training.
However, Garda staff numbers have increased by 1,200 in recent years. This has enabled more than 800 Gardaí to be released from administrative roles to operational duties in areas such as tackling street level drug dealing, and preventing and detecting sexual crime and domestic abuse.
Commissioner Harris stated that in 2023 An Garda Síochána was planning to have classes of approximately 200 Garda students in the Garda College every 11/12 weeks.
Annual recruitment competitions for Gardaí will also be introduced with the first of these going live in Q1 2023.
In 2022, between retirements (340) and resignations (109), approximately 450 Gardaí left the organisation out of more than 14,000 Gardaí. The number of Gardaí leaving via resignation in 2022 equates to approximately 0.8 per cent of Gardaí.
Any resignation is of concern to the organisation and An Garda Síochána will shortly introduce exit interviews to examine why Gardaí are resigning.
Commissioner Harris said:
"The safety of Gardaí is of utmost importance and concern for An Garda Síochána, myself as Commissioner, and all four Garda Representative Associations.
"Regrettably, already this year we have seen a number of serious assaults on Gardaí.
"While all Gardaí accept policing has its risks, there can never be any excuse for these disgraceful attacks.
"It is not acceptable that a small minority in society – and it is only a small minority – feel that Gardaí can be attacked just because they are carrying out their duties.
"The vast majority of the public have great respect for the work that Gardaí do to keep them safe, their professionalism and dedication, and their empathy, particularly when engaging with the most vulnerable in our society.
"I will continue to ensure we provide Gardaí with the equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.
"I am looking forward to welcoming more Garda recruits to the organisation throughout 2023 starting next month and I am confident that we will soon get back to a situation where Garda numbers are growing.
"I have said this before, but I not only want to get to the current target of 15,000 Gardaí, but given population growth, demographic change and the rapidly changing nature of crime, I believe there is a strong case for there to be more than 15,000 Gardaí.”
Issue Date: 27/08/2022
Please check against delivery
"…..to succeed not by force of arms or numbers, but on our moral authority as servants of the people.”
Minister, Elected Representatives, Colleagues both serving and retired , Invited Guests,
I am honoured to welcome you all to this symbolic place to mark a very special occasion.
We come together this afternoon to commemorate the foundation of An Garda Síochána – Ireland’s national police and security service.
It was here in August 1922 that our first Garda Commissioner, Michael Staines, led relatively new members of An Garda Síochána through the Palace Street gates of Dublin Castle - the then centre of British rule.
It was then too that Dublin Castle, which had long served as a base for policing in Ireland, was formally handed over.
And it remains a hub of much Garda activity to this day, with several of our units operating from here.
It is also the place of our Garda Museum and our very special Memorial Garden.
In the century since that pivotal moment in history, tens of thousands of people have come to dedicate their working lives as Gardaí to protect the safety of the communities we proudly serve.
Today, there are over 14,000 highly trained Gardaí and over 3,000 Garda Staff. All working to uphold the ideals of those who founded us 100 years ago.
These ideals are best reflected in our development of community based policing in Ireland.
Policing in partnership with people and communities.
Working together in unison to enhance our ability to keep citizens safe based on our strong tradition of policing by consent.
The result is a highly trusted police service that is world renowned for its close connection to communities.
An unarmed police service that has on countless occasions over the last century demonstrated dedication, professionalism, and bravery to protect the public.
This did not happen by accident or good fortune.
It was achieved by generations of Gardaí adhering to the ethos outlined by the Commissioner who led the Gardaí through the gates of Dublin Castle 100 years ago.
On the founding of this organisation, Commissioner Staines said that An Garda Síochána would succeed not by force of arms or numbers, but on our moral authority as servants of the people.
This visionary mission continues to be at the very centre of all that we do as Gardaí.
While this mission has remained constant over the last 100 years, as Ireland has changed, so has An Garda Síochána.
And in response to the changing needs of the people we serve, our organisation has been undergoing a process of change.
Here in Dublin Castle exactly a century ago, An Garda Síochána was a newly formed but quickly emerging police service.
We are now a large, ever expanding organisation working across divisions and dedicated units in areas of local, national and international priority.
An Garda Síochána is a broad network of local and national units, and specialist and support services that are dedicated to preventing and detecting crime.
We are continuing to put in place major ICT infrastructure suitable for the modern day policing.
We are undertaking the largest reshaping of An Garda Síochána in its 100 years under the Garda Operating Model to provide more localised services.
Just two weeks ago we introduced a new, more practical operational uniform to reflect our modern police service.
It is vital that in the coming years and decades that An Garda Síochána continues to grow and evolve so as to meet the rapidly changing demands on policing.
As Ireland’s national security service, An Garda Síochána has encountered and responded to difficult periods in Ireland’s past.
Many of us here will remember there was a time, not so long ago in fact, when our democracy was under direct threat.
An Garda Síochána was at the forefront of protecting our democracy during those dark days.
This threat has not fully dissipated and, of course, there are also now further threats to State security from outside this island.
By its nature, this aspect of our work often cannot be discussed in detail or in public at all.
But remarkable work has been done to counter very real and sustained threats to our national security from a range of actors.
This work, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies and security services, is one of An Garda Síochána’s greatest achievements over the past century.
Over the last 100 years, there have been incidents of crime that have shocked and dismayed us all.
Lives taken through criminality and others left altered forever.
Yet time and time again, Gardaí have been trusted and relied upon to step in and go the extra mile to help and protect others.
But, of course, while there have been very significant successes that have greatly benefited our society, there have been times throughout the decades when we did not meet our own high standards or the standards expected of us– when we could have and should have done better for the Irish people.
We must ensure these mistakes are not repeated.
And we must learn the lessons of the past.
And because history tells us that it is critical we learn the lessons of the past.
We are striving to be even more open and transparent.
To be constantly aware of those who may be vulnerable in our society, and do all we can to guarantee the protection of the human rights of every individual we interact with.
And to ensure that our organisation is reflective of the diverse society we serve so proudly.
The evolution of our organisation over the past century has not been without its challenges.
The demands placed on members of An Garda Síochána continue to grow in parallel with a rising population.
The breadth and variety of duties has expanded considerably.
And the challenges we encounter as a consequence.
Our responsibilities now extend into many areas – locally, nationally and internationally.
This will continue as the nature of criminality continues to evolve.
It is essential that we are in position to meet these challenges and threats
As we gather here today on such a special and important occasion, I want to pay tribute to our colleagues – Gardaí, Garda staff and Garda reserves – to those who came before us, established our service, and committed themselves to serving communities over the course of the past 100 years.
To the generations of Garda personnel - retired and present - who built an organisation that is set on a solid foundation.
Those who willingly dedicated their working lives and sacrificed so much to keep the public safe with dignity and honour.
Who were motivated to work to the highest standards.
We especially remember those that have passed on, in particular our 89 colleagues who were killed in the course of their duty and whose ultimate sacrifice remain with us always.
They are the epitome of An Garda Síochána.
Dedicated Guardians of the Peace.
They make us extraordinarily proud of the privilege it is to wear this uniform and represent this great organisation.
Commissioner Harris Speech at Centenary Commemoration in Gresham Hotel on 24/5/22
“Has An Garda Síochána lived up to the ideals of those who met in this hotel 100 years ago?”
Ministers, Colleagues, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to welcome you all to this symbolic location to mark what is a very special occasion for An Garda Síochána.
We come together this evening to commemorate our colleagues who came before us, established our service and committed themselves to serving communities over the course of the past century.
We especially remember those who have passed on, in particular those who have died in the execution of their duty and whose valiant efforts remain with us always.
It was here in the Gresham Hotel on February 9th 1922 that Ireland’s National Policing and Security Service was formed at the inaugural meeting of its founding committee.
In its transition from the RIC and to what later became An Garda Síochána, the formation of the Civic Guard that night, paved way for stability in Ireland and the establishment of the nation’s unarmed police service.
By that September, and following the passing of the Constabulary (Ireland) Act in Parliament, members of the new police service began arriving in cities, towns and villages to begin working in and with communities.
In the century since, thousands of people have to come to dedicate their working lives as Gardaí to protect the people of Ireland.
Today, there are over 14,000 highly trained Gardaí working nationwide.
The work that is undertaken by Gardaí each day is focused on the safety of the people we proudly serve.
You will see in the foreword of tonight’s booklet that each of you will have received on arrival this evening, a seminal quote from our very first Garda Commissioner, Michael Staines who was present on February 9th a century ago.
It is these words that encapsulate the mission that continues to be at the very centre of all that we do as Gardaí.
We are as much committed to this now, as our founding members were then - to succeed not by force of arms or numbers, but on our moral authority as servants of the people.
While our overarching mission has been a constant - so much else has changed about the work of Gardaí since those very first weeks and months of our organisation.
The breadth of duties has shifted considerably.
Our responsibilities now extend into many areas – nationally and internationally.
As Ireland has changed, so too has An Garda Síochána.
We are now an organisation working across specialist and dedicated units in areas of priority like drugs and organised crime, roads policing, and domestic and sexual abuse.
We also continue to put in place major ICT infrastructure suitable for the modern day.
We are introducing a new operating model to provide more localised services.
Even how we look is changing with the forthcoming introduction of a new, modern uniform.
Through the decades, Gardaí have prevented and detected significant amounts of crime.
We are having an impact on targeting and disrupting Organised Crime Groups – an area where we have recently seen considerable progress.
There have been incidents of crime that have shocked and dismayed during the past century.
As a police service we have encountered and responded to deeply unsettling periods in Ireland’s past.
Through the decades, members of An Garda Síochána have willingly faced danger to protect people’s safety.
That fact is sadly made clear when we think of our 89 Garda colleagues killed in the execution of their duty, who we remembered at our Memorial Service on Saturday last, and we also remember all those injured in the course of their duties.
Despite all of this, we continue to strengthen our service based on our strong tradition of policing by consent and in partnership with people and communities.
The development of community based policing in Ireland over the past century has played an integral part in how we operate today.
An Garda Síochána is also unique in that we have a dual mandate – the national police service and the national security service.
By its nature, the work that has been done by the security side of the organisation cannot often be discussed in detail.
But what has been achieved in countering the violent threat to this State and others from terrorist organisations is remarkable.
The work of An Garda Síochána, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies and security services, in countering these threats is one of the organisation’s greatest achievements over the last century.
As society has evolved, it is important that we also do so.
Over 11,000 people have applied as part of the recent recruitment campaign to become a member of An Garda Síochána.
It is encouraging that so many people are prepared to step up to protect and support communities.
About 40% of applicants are women and there has been an increase in numbers applying across a range of ethnic backgrounds.
We are passionate about delivering a policing service that represents every community and so this is a positive indication.
We now have over 3,300 Garda staff providing a range of critical functions to support policing delivery including IT systems, financial management, crime analysis, legal advice, HR and health and wellbeing services. Their input and insights have been invaluable in the development of the organisation into a modern police service.
In addition, we have been fortunate to have so many Garda Reserves assist us with our service delivery. Garda Reserves give of their free time to help us provide a policing service. They bring the value of their own personal and professional experiences to the organisation, which is of immense benefit to us.
While we celebrate all the great many things that An Garda Síochána has achieved over the past 100 years and the benefits to Irish society, we must also reflect this evening on the times we did not meet our own high standards.
The evolution of our organisation over the past century has not been without its difficulties.
As in any human endeavour, we have encountered many challenges through our history.
There were times when we let individuals and communities down.
Times when we should have done more, and, should have done better.
For all those times, I want to apologise to those that we failed.
An Garda Síochána is strongly focused on human rights and ensuring the human rights of every individual we interact with.
We are more aware of the vulnerabilities of individuals.
We have put in place measures to protect our own personnel from corruption, and to tackle corruption and malpractice if or when it happens.
And we encourage our people to speak up if they see an issue so that concerns can be dealt with and dealt with early.
But we can’t and won’t be complacent.
Every day we must work hard to make certain that we follow in the footsteps of all the brave members of An Garda Síochána who dedicated their working lives and sacrificed so much to protect the public with dignity and honour.
Those who were only ever motivated to work to the highest standards.
That is the real An Garda Síochána.
That is why our level of trust among the public is so high.
It is why we are regarded as a beacon of community policing, and why police services from around the world come to learn from us.
It is because of those dedicated Guardians of the Peace.
They are the best of us.
They are the vast, vast majority of us in An Garda Síochána who have, and continue to be, extraordinarily proud of the privilege it is to wear this uniform and represent this great organisation.
This evening’s event provides us with a meaningful opportunity to reflect on the past, assess the present, and consider the future role of An Garda Síochána in keeping the people of Ireland safe.
I look forward to having the opportunity to discuss further in-depth with our panel a little later but for now I will conclude by saying –
In 1922 and the immediate years that followed, Gardaí built an organisation that is set on a solid foundation.
It is our task 100 years on, to maintain the community-focus that is the bedrock of how we police, and we must continue to modernise to ensure we can deliver a policing service the country and all of us can be proud of.
General Secretary, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen
I would like to thank the Association for the invitation to speak with you all today.
Firstly, I want to acknowledge the very difficult period we have all gone through since March 2020.
And, in particular, the enormous contribution made by Sergeants and Inspectors in keeping people safe.
In your positions as supervisors and leaders within An Garda Síochána and the Community, your own commitment and dedication have been central to our ability to effectively deliver a national policing response to COVID-19.
Thank you also for the support, guidance and mentoring you have given Gardaí.
At times of crisis, personnel look to their supervisors for direction and you provide exemplary leadership to them.
It is difficult to say at present the true scale of impact that the onset of COVID-19 has had on the nature of criminal activities.
However, the surge in incidents of domestic abuse during this time required a dynamic response.
In what is being described by the United Nations as the ‘shadow pandemic’ – victims of domestic abuse have had far fewer opportunities to leave their homes or seek help.
In response to this, we introduced Operation Faoiseamh in April 2020 which concentrates on providing proactive support and protection to all victims of domestic abuse.
We now have over 300 specially trained Garda personnel working in Divisional Protective Services Unit’s (DPSU) within each Garda division.
They are working to prevent and detect domestic abuse, sexual crime, human trafficking and child abuse.
In the past 12 months, Operation Faoiseamh and the ongoing work of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau has led to 7,000 charges being preferred for crimes involving an element of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is a pervasive problem in our society.
As an organisation we must continue to send a very strong message.
To reassure victims that An Garda Síochána is always here to support you.
As we have long known - the sale and supply of illegal drugs costs lives and ravages entire communities.
Drug traffickers quickly reacted to the emergence of the pandemic and have continued to operate at high levels.
The drug supply in Ireland has proven resilient in spite of the initial disruption caused by COVID-19.
However, Gardaí have been working successfully to disrupt this illegal activity.
There are now over 320 Gardaí assigned full time to Divisional Drug Units across every Garda Division nationwide.
Each of these units complement our enhanced national anti-drugs strategy - Operation Tara – which commenced in July 2021 with a distinct focus on curbing street-level dealing.
This operation has already led to major seizures in drugs, cash and firearms.
I know that as Sergeants and Inspectors you are responding too to associated crimes such as drug intimidation and violence.
I want to reiterate that we will be continuing to prioritise Operation Tara and other initiatives aimed at targeting drug dealers in our communities.
The pandemic has also emphasised the importance of continuing to deliver on the plans for organisational change within An Garda Síochána.
In spite of the national policing response to COVID-19, we continue to make significant strides in areas of development.
With your support, 13 Divisions have commenced the roll out of the new Operating Model.
Already, it is increasing the number of frontline Gardaí while delivering a more localised service to communities, and maximizing our operational impact.
I accept that this is a significant structural transition.
But I strongly believe that this reshaping will enhance the capabilities of An Garda Síochána.
And while streamlining administrative processes we are adopting new technologies to further assist Gardaí in their duties.
The Active Mobility App which was first piloted in 2017 is now strengthening our approach to road traffic policing with over 5,000 of these devices already in use.
Already this year, over 170,000 fixed charge notices have been issued using Mobility devices.
As Gardaí we have a combined responsibility to safeguard and respect all human rights.
The fair and objective treatment of every individual is of prime importance to our work.
And we must be, therefore, held to the highest possible standard in how we interact with all those who engage with An Garda Síochána.
In recent months, we have been working to implement the recommendations of the Garda Cultural Audit and the Human Rights Strategy.
The Garda Anti-Corruption Unit (GACU) established earlier this year, promotes the highest levels of honesty and professionalism within our organisation.
Several new policies were introduced in July to enable GACU to further fulfill the recommendations set out in the Government’s A Policing Service For Our Future plan.
I assure you that this unit is most concerned with protecting members and staff from the harmful effects of corruption, and building a positive, well-functioning working environment to fully support your duties.
The vast, vast majority of Gardaí operate to the highest standards ethically and professionally but, those who do not, put the public, their colleagues and the organisation at risk from their criminal activity.
We cannot let that happen.
And in promoting correct behavior and thoroughly investigating allegations of internal corruption, this unit will help to maintain public confidence in our policing service.
The implementation of all of the recommendations for A Policing Service for the Future has required much work and commitment from staff across the organisation.
But there is still much more to do over the coming months.
As Sergeants and Inspectors you are each playing a leading role in the modernisation of An Garda Síochána.
I call on each of you to bring the Gardaí who you mentor and support along with us on this journey towards transformation.
While it has not been unique to Ireland, the level of violence and abuse directed at Gardaí during the pandemic is a cause for significant concern.
Members have been shot and shot at, members have been assaulted, spat at, had cars driven at them and fireworks and bottles thrown at them
We all knew and accepted when we took on the job of policing that it comes with risks.
That is not the point.
It is not acceptable that a small minority in society – and it is only a small minority – feels that just because you wear a uniform that you deserve to be treated in this way. You do not.
I also fully appreciate the strain that the pandemic has placed on you and your families.
At times, this intense level of duty may be difficult to cope with.
This pressure can have a cumulative, corrosive effect, and so it is important too that we look out for ourselves and one another.
There is now a range of expert-led confidential resources available to Garda personnel that can proactively help us all to care for our wellness and mental health.
The frontline Peer Support Network, the independent 24/7 counselling service, the Garda Occupational Health Service, and the full-time Garda Employee Assistance Service all have a strong reputation.
It is a strength not a weakness to ask for help.
And so I ask you to strongly encourage all of those you lead to utilise these free, confidential and independent services.
In 2022, An Garda Síochána will be 100 years old.
There were challenges for our colleagues in the decades before us, just as there are challenges for us now.
But as leaders, we are the ones who have the ability to drive the reform that will give us a police service for our future.
One that is rooted in the rich and diverse communities that we proudly serve.
I will end now by once again expressing my sincere appreciation for all of your work and leadership throughout COVID-19 to keep people safe.
Criminal Assets Bureau 25th Anniversary
Friday, 15th October 2021
Minister, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning everyone.
And thank you for your presence here today as we mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau.
In June 1996 very traumatic and tragic events occurred which ultimately led to the creation of the Bureau on this day in 1996.
Our dear colleague, Detective Garda Jerry McCabe was callously murdered in the execution of his duty.
A crime of such gravity that it is as clear in the public consciousness now as it was in the summer of 1996.
A few days later the brutal killing of journalist, Veronica Guerin is a seminal moment in Ireland’s response to organized crime and terrorist groups.
It is true to say that much changed in the aftermath of both of these murders.
In fact, their deaths prompted a step change of new proportions.
And nothing changed as quickly and dramatically as the strategy to deny and deprive criminals of assets acquired through criminal conduct.
Legislative action took just a matter of weeks, and which culminated in the unanimous passing of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act, 1996 and the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996.
And against a backdrop of the increasing sophistication of organised criminal gangs - particularly in disguising their profits – the Bureau was formed.
A quarter of a century ago, the sale and supply of illegal drugs was on the rise.
The trafficking of drugs had become a lucrative criminal business and demand was high.
Because that is how this criminal model works – it preys.
Criminals prey and victimise people – predominately those in social disadvantage, their families and their communities.
While much of the focus of the Bureau is placed on drug trafficking, the range of crimes within its scope also extends to areas such as theft, burglary, fraud and money laundering.
The one commonality among them all is the impact of these criminal activities on communities.
Through intimidation, violence, anti-social behaviour and very real fear – those involved in profiting from crime can ravage the communities they are embedded in.
Throughout the past 25 years the Bureau has sought to disrupt and prevent this by targeting criminal assets, and making it more and more difficult for criminals to conceal or enjoy the proceeds of their activity.
To achieve this, the Bureau has consistently demonstrated the effectiveness of adopting a vigorous, relentless and pro-active multi-agency approach.
Together with officials from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and Customs, the Department of Social Protection and the Chief State Solicitors Office as well as counterparts in Northern Ireland, Interpol and Europol - Garda personnel have shown that their work makes a real difference.
And I would like to take a moment to touch on some of their most recent success at local, national and international level.
During 2020 under the guidance of Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Gubbins, the Criminal Assets Bureau brought 31 new Proceeds of Crime cases before the High Court.
The Bureau returned over €5m of cash to the State last year that was acquired through crime - up from €3.9m the year previously.
As the global economy and banking has evolved, so has CAB.
In 2020, it seized €53m worth of cryptocurrency.
I note too that the Bureau also returned €5.4 million to the Nigerian Government following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Ireland and the Federal Republic of Nigeria this time last year.
To date in 2021, 10 new Proceeds of Crime cases have commenced in the High Court.
So far this year, 39 search operations have been conducted.
The Bureau currently has 1,851 targets nationwide, 36 of which are non-residential.
Roughly half of these targets reside in Dublin and the remainder elsewhere around Ireland.
These targets account for 1,303 full investigations and 548 preliminary investigations.
This output in activity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the dedication and commitment of every single person working within the Criminal Assets Bureau.
To maximize the local impact, over the last year the Bureau has also placed a focus on the development of a local network of asset profilers. There are over 553 Divisional Asset Profilers throughout the State trained to identify and target the proceeds of crime.
This is a particularly important development as the Proceeds of Crime Act’s threshold stands now at €5000.
The Bureau is rightfully recognised internationally as a major success in Irish policing and law enforcement. And among its key strengths is its collaboration with other organisations to support its enforcement actions.
As it reaches a quarter of a century, I am deeply grateful for the contribution made by An Garda Síochána in the work of the Bureau through these years.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation for all of your hard work and dedication.
While it is clear that society is changing and consequently so is policing, I know that through our multi-agency co-operation we are prepared to respond and take on new challenges.
But at its core we remain determined that Ireland is a hard target for organised crime.
Scott Medal Ceremony
Friday, September 24th 2021
Minister, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen
Today we come here to honour 15 members of An Garda Síochána who demonstrated their great courage and bravery.
And it is my proud privilege to award the Scott Medal to each of these Gardaí.
I am especially glad to see those of you who could join us to recognise you in person, and there are those we honour today, who are sadly departed but we must never forget. And I am very pleased to also welcome the family of Private Patrick Kelly and Mr. Don Tidey.
I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the families who are here with us – for they share a special part of these awards.
It is you who has been there to support them on the most demanding days in their career in An Garda Síochána.
Historically, policing is known to be a challenging profession.
Our most basic duties and responsibilities allow society to live in safety, and free from violence and crime.
This work can often be silent and go by unheralded.
Then occasionally it requires Gardaí to make difficult life or death decisions in a split second, and put themselves directly in harm’s way to protect others.
Our organsiation is made up of exceptionally motivated and competent individuals at all ranks.
And that is why you could be counted on in December 1983.
When each of you were called upon at a time of danger, you stepped up and responded.
It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear but action in the face of it.
And I am strongly convinced that this is intrinsically linked to a person’s sense of duty.
It is likely that this resilience is one of the things that motivated you to join An Garda Síochána all those years ago.
The obvious danger and complexities involved in the operation at Dromcroman Wood in mid-December 1983 cannot be overstated.
You were involved in a heavy exchange of gunfire and were directly shot at.
Exposed to terrifying situations involving very dangerous armed suspects.
And faced enormous personal risk to life in the execution of your duties to rescue Mr. Don Tidey who had been kidnapped some 23 days previously.
We sadly know of the real extent of this risk through the tragic death of Garda Gary Sheehan.
Garda Sheehan made the ultimate sacrifice of giving his life in the line of duty to ensure that Mr. Tidey was brought to safety from captivity that day.
So while one family were given the safe return of their loved one, another was torn apart.
A very young, new recruit who followed both his father and grandfather in their service to the State through An Garda Síochána.
Garda Sheehan had been in his career just three months before he was needlessly killed.
And that is very hard to comprehend.
We remember too, Private Patrick Kelly who also lost his life during this An Garda Síochána and Defence Forces joint operation.
In all of your actions during this search operation you strove to protect the life of Mr. Don Tidey and the lives of your fellow Gardaí.
Each one of you demonstrated outstanding bravery and physical courage.
And both bravery and courage involve so much more than we can know.
Yes, it is knowingly facing danger, but it is also knowing when and how to act to deliver a positive policing and societal outcome.
And the dedication to duty and bravery you demonstrated on 16 December 1983 remains an example to all of us who continue to serve.
And that kind of skill is required in our work today more than ever.
And on behalf of An Garda Síochána, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to you all for your service.
Speech by Commissioner Drew Harris at the Scott Medal Ceremony in Dublin Castle
Wednesday, 25 August 2021
Minister, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen
It is a privilege to join you all this morning to honour 13 exemplary Gardaí for their most exceptional actions in the execution of their duty.
I would like to extend a warm welcome to the families of our Scott Medal recipients who are here with us.
All of you share a special part in the awards bestowed today.
Because it is you that is there for them every day they leave and come back from home after the toughest of days.
And there are those who sadly gave their lives, but who we honour today posthumously.
This ceremony is an important opportunity to reflect on the contributions of today’s recipients.
By its very nature, the work of An Garda Síochána is dangerous and unpredictable.
Very often, it stretches beyond day-to-day duties.
But there are some who in providing our policing service that manage to go even further.
These are the exceptional few who are awarded the Scott Medal.
Today we recognise you, and your extraordinary courage.
Among this year’s recipients are those that saved the lives of their fellow Gardaí.
Others who put their lives in jeopardy to protect the public in a time of crisis.
And there are those whose names are inscribed on the monument that stands behind me, overlooking this ceremony, who gave the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the State.
Each one is an eternal reminder of An Garda Síochána’s mission to keep people safe.
Since the very first Scott Medal was presented by Col. Scott in 1923, several personal qualities have become closely associated with its recipients.
I would like to take a moment to tell you what those are and why I believe they are commonly held by all those bestowed with this honour.
Of course, it takes courage and confidence to pursue a career in An Garda Síochána in the first instance.
But while others may grapple to find courage when it matters most, to you it is an innate ability.
It was Aristotle who said, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.”
Courage is cultivated through inspiration too.
And all 13 of today’s recipients inspire our whole organisation to act courageously.
Your valiant actions live on in today’s An Garda Síochána.
Integrity is a quality that most strive towards.
To do the right thing in all situations.
As a recipient of the Scott Medal you have shown your overarching commitment to preserving justice and keeping the people you serve, safe from harm.
True integrity is a core value of An Garda Síochána.
And as Gardaí, your virtue is absolutely central to our ability to uphold the highest ethical standards and practices in policing in Ireland.
Over time, a misconception has emerged that those who are brave feel no fear in the midst of a life threatening situation or dangerous encounter.
That they are fearless or without panic.
When in fact - real bravery is feeling fear in the very pit of your stomach.
But choosing to resist it.
And despite knowing the risks, proceeding anyway.
This is the true and accurate measure of bravery.
Lastly, there is Wisdom.
Through your actions you demonstrated your quick intuition.
Your intelligence to confront and sensibly handle hazardous situations.
The actions for which you are being awarded this prestigious medal, will have undoubtedly been traumatic.
And so there is wisdom too in knowing when and how to seek out support.
Whether that is leaning on family and friends, or reaching out to the resources within An Garda Síochána.
Because consistently building on our personal wellbeing and resilience, best honours our profession.
It goes without saying that those being recognised today did not act with valour in search of accolade.
They did so instinctively.
That instinct and all of the other prized qualities that you possess and which I have spoken of, are what has led you to this most prestigious award.
You embody all that it means to be an outstanding member of our police service.
And on behalf of An Garda Síochána, I wish to express my immense gratitude to you all for your inspiration to all of us who serve.
Unveiling of a Commemorative Plaque for Detective Garda Richard Hyland and Detective Sergeant Patrick McKeown at 98A Rathgar Road*
Monday, August 16th 2021
Elected Representatives, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honour to join you all this morning to recognise the immense bravery and sacrifice of our late Garda colleagues, Detective Garda Richard Hyland and Detective Sergeant Patrick McKeown.
And in particular I would like to acknowledge the presence of Mary P. Hyland and Órla McKeown.
For us to fully recognise these men’s sacrifice here on Rathgar Road, we must briefly consider the preceding events and the historical context of Ireland as a new republic.
While the continent was facing the awful realities of World War II, as a neutral country Ireland was not without its own dangers.
This period took a heavy toll on Gardaí, who were charged with tackling activity associated with IRA training.
From the street, this premises at 98A Rathgar Road looked like any other ordinary shop, but was in fact suspected to be a base for subversive activity.
On this day 81 years ago both Detectives, accompanied by three other Gardaí, Detective Garda Mullally, Detective Garda Wilmot and Detective Garda Brady, arrived here shortly before 8am to conduct a search under the Offences Against the State Act.
By its nature, these men will have been aware of the risk of this operation and yet were undeterred. Garda members were aware that it was likely armed members of the IRA were inside the premises.
They demonstrated personal bravery and performed their duties intelligently, fully knowing that there was a real and imminent risk to their lives.
Many of us here today will have read or been told of the harrowing details of the events that followed.
We know that upon entry and without warning, both Detective Garda Hyland and Detective Sergeant McKeown suffered severe and ultimately fatal gunshot wounds in the line of duty.
Detective Garda Richard Hyland, a native of Mayo and later Maynooth joined An Garda Síochána in September 1933.
At this address less than eight years later, he was wounded by seven gunshots, but managed to discharge one shot from his official firearm in defence of his colleagues, before he died from his injuries at the scene. He was survived by his wife Kathleen and two young children.
Detective Sergeant Patrick McKeown joined An Garda Síochána in 1923 and 16 years later he was deployed to the Special Branch based in Dublin Castle.
On August 16th, 1940 he suffered one gunshot wound, but, despite this, used all his remaining strength to escape and warn his colleagues to shield from the gunfire.
He died from his wounds the following day and was later laid to rest near his birthplace in South Armagh. He was survived by his mother, his brother Felix, extended family and friends.
It was these brave actions that ultimately saved the lives of their Garda colleagues that day.
The search led to the seizure of a range of weapons including a Thompson Sub Machine Gun, revolvers, pistols and ammunition. Two members of the IRA were arrested nearby and subsequently convicted of the murder of Detective Sergeant McKeown and Detective Garda Hyland.
In many ways, the events of Rathgar Road altered the course of Irish history.
Later this month, An Garda Síochána will also recognise their exceptional courage and bravery by awarding the Gold Scott Medal to both men posthumously at a ceremony in Dublin Castle.
The reverse of the Scott Medal carries the inscription, "Garda Síochána na h-Éireann".
Its four outside panels form the arms of the four provinces of Ireland - Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught.
This is a particularly fitting symbol of the dedication shown by both Detective Garda Hyland and Detective Sergeant McKeown on August 16th 1940.
It is the mission of An Garda Síochána to keep all of the people of Ireland safe. As Gardaí they conducted their duties that day with this purpose in mind, and they made the supreme sacrifice to protect the State.
Today’s anniversary and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in honour of those men reminds us of the members of An Garda Síochána that have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Everyone on the Garda Roll of Honour – Detective Garda Hyland and Detective Sergeant McKeown included - represent the very real, everyday dangers faced by Gardaí.
This plaque is another fitting reminder of their bravery. No matter the passage of time – they will never be forgotten.
Finally, on behalf of An Garda Síochána I wish to extend my sincere thanks to Dublin City Council for making today’s unveiling possible. It is very much appreciated by everyone in An Garda Síochána and most importantly by the surviving relatives of Detective Sergeant McKeown and Detective Garda Hyland.
*Please note that the above text may not fully reflect the speech delivered on the day.