An Garda Síochána

An Garda Síochána in Barnaderg

Extract from Killererin - A Parish History (pps 491-492)

Clogherboy House in the 1920s
Photo: Gerry and Bernadette Connolly
From L-r: Sergeant Travers, Garda McGinn, Garda McGinness and Garda Halpin
Photo: Gerry and Bernadette Connolly

An Garda Síochána [1]

The establishment of the Irish Free State after the Civil War in 1921 brought about the disbanding of the RIC and the establishment of ‘The Civic Guard’ later renamed An Garda Síochána.[2] The new force took up residence in Dublin Castle in August 1922. In Killererin ‘the Guards’ were first stationed in Clogherboy Cottage.

The first members of An Garda Síochána in Barnaderg

Martin Lyster, writing about the Guards in the parish, recorded the names of the first contingent as Sergeant McNulty, Garda McGee, Garda McGinn and Garda McGuinness.[3] In 1926, the station was deemed not appropriately located, so a site was obtained in Barnaderg village. According to Garda Matt Marley, the new station was built by Paddy Duffy, Lavally, in 1929.[4] Sergeant Travers and later Sergeant Forde were some of the sergeants in charge of the new station.

Drowned while escorting patient to Ballinasloe

Sergeant Forde was born on the 19th January 1904 in Loughrea and joined the RIC in 1924. As well as being stationed in Barnaderg, he worked in Ballymote, Mohill and Fivemilebourne. On the 18th January 1934, Sergeant Forde died after escorting a patient to Ballinasloe Hospital. ‘… driving through Galway the hackney car in which they were travelling approached the Woodquay area. It was a dark wet night. The vehicle left the roadway and entered the River Corrib at Woodquay. Sergeant Forde was drowned.’[5] Sergeant Forde was married with two children and had served as a Garda for nine years.

Some of the members who served in Barnaderg

Records show that among the members who served in Barnaderg in those years were Gardai Bolan, Conlon, Halpin, Keohane, Lohan, O’Donnell and Seavers.

Garda duties evolve

The outbreak of World War II in September 1939 saw many changes in the country and Garda work began to involve duties concerning rationing coupons, travel identity cards to Britain, etc. In 1941, the local security force was established, primarily to assist the Gardai in their work.

Members of the Garda force in Barnaderg c. 1940s

The members of the Barnaderg Garda force in those days were Sergeant Emmet Boyle, a native of Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh, who died in 2015; Garda John Gannon, from Claremorris; Garda Michael McElroy, a native of Co. Fermanagh, Garda Joseph Kennedy, from Athlone and Garda James McStay, a native of Co. Longford.  A topical note in regard to the late Garda McStay is that members of his family have recently donated a very fine cup for football competitions among the National Schools in the Barnaderg Garda area.

‘The Emergency’

Many men who served in the local security force during what became known as ‘the Emergency’, spent days and nights on patrol work, protection duties, etc. They were dangerous and difficult times but a fine spirit existed between the public and the police who worked in close harmony through this eventful period. One of the major events of those war time days was the crash of a big Canadian bomber plane in the Lavally area, with the loss of the entire crew. No doubt, many people who were attending the usual Sunday night dance in Comer’s Hall on that occasion will remember the plane flying very low over the village just before it crashed in Lavally.

Those that served after the War years

The war years passed and the personnel of Barnaderg Station inevitably changed. Sergeant James Hawkshaw was in charge of the station. He was a native of Westport and his son M.J. was a member of the Galway Senior football team in Croke Park in 1957. Other members of the Force at that time were Garda Tom Cosgrove, Martin Gill, John T. Finlay and the late Pat Hegarty. Sergeant Hugh Ruane and Sergeant William Harhen came after Sergeant Hawkshaw. Sergeant Harhen’s brother, Michael Harhen, also served as a Garda in Barnaderg in the 1950s.  Another native of the West Cork area, Sergeant Pat Bevan, served for over seven years in Barnaderg. The list of men who served in Barnaderg is indeed a long one from the first day in Clogherboy to the diamond anniversary of the foundation of the force when the station was manned by Sergeant Michael Waters and Gardai Martin Lyster and Richard Horan.

Local man serving in Oranmore awarded the Scott Medal for bravery

In 2009, Garda Alan Keane received the highest award for bravery, the Scott Medal, for his part in overpowering a gang in a house in Lackagh.


[1] Elements of the piece below are taken from an interview with Garda Martin Lyster, Barnaderg  in 1982
[2] An Garda Síochána, ‘A brief history of An Garda Síochána’ ( (22 July 2013).
[3]Elements of the piece below are taken from an interview with Garda Martin Lyster, Barnaderg  in 1982
[4] Information provided by Daithi Hanley to Canon Kieran Waldron, included in Historical facts on the Grotto. Paddy Duffy was stonemason for Grotto also.
[5] An Garda Síochána, ‘Media Roll of Honour’ ( (22 Jul 2013).

This page was added on 10/05/2023.

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