Garda Commissioner Drew Harris warns of threats to democracy as hundreds of officers gather to mark police centenary

GARDA Commissioner Drew Harris paid tribute to a force that “has demonstrated dedication, professionalism and bravery in protecting the public on countless occasions over the last century.”

We have also warned that threats to our democracy have “not fully subsided” and that work to counter these threats is ongoing.

He spoke as around 450 Gardai took part in a parade to mark the centenary since the first Garda Commissioner led the new police service at Dublin Castle to hand over policing duties from the British.

The Gardai followed in the footsteps of Michael Staines and his troop who marched from the Gresham Hotel on O’Connell Street to Dublin Castle via Dame Street a century ago.

They replicated a photo of Mr Staines and the troupe as they came through the palace gates.

Established in 1922 by Michael Collins and the Irish Government, the Civic Guard was later renamed the An Garda Siochana.

Commissioner Harris said: “In the century since that pivotal moment in history, tens of thousands of people have come to dedicate their working lives as Gardaí to protecting the safety of the communities we are proud to serve.”

He paid tribute to “an unarmed police force that has demonstrated dedication, professionalism and bravery in protecting the public on countless occasions over the last century.

“It’s not a coincidence or luck.

“It has been accomplished by generations of Gardaí who have held to the ethos of the Commissioner who led the Gardaí through the gates of Dublin Castle 100 years ago.”

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Commissioner Drew Harris, who joined colleagues from Gardai as they marched through the streets of Dublin to commemorate 100 years since the transfer of Picture Police power; Gerry Mooney

Referring to the needs of modern policing, the Commissioner added: “It is vital that An Garda Síochána continues to grow and evolve over the coming years and decades to meet the rapidly changing demands of policing.

“As Ireland’s National Security Service, An Garda Síochána has lived through and responded to difficult times in Ireland’s past.

“Many of us here will remember that there was a time, not too long ago, when our democracy was under direct threat.

“An Garda Síochána has been at the forefront of protecting our democracy during these dark days.

“This threat has not yet been completely dissipated, and of course there are now other threats to state security from outside this island as well.

“Of course, this aspect of our work often cannot be discussed publicly in detail or at all.

“But remarkable work has been done to counter very real and ongoing threats to our national security from a range of actors.

“This work in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and security services is one of the greatest achievements of An Garda Síochána in the last century.”

He also pointed to failings within the force, as he said: “But of course there have been times over the decades when we haven’t met our own high standards or the standards, although there have been very significant achievements that have benefited our society immensely is what is expected of us – when we could and should have done better for the Irish people.

“We must ensure that these mistakes do not repeat themselves. And we must learn the lessons of the past. And because history tells us it is crucial, we are learning the lessons of the past.”

He also paid tribute to 89 colleagues killed in the line of duty over the past century.

“You are the epitome of An Garda Síochána. Dedicated keepers of the peace.

“You make us extremely proud of the privilege of wearing this uniform and representing this great organization.”

https://www.independent.ie/news/garda-commissioner-drew-harris-warns-over-threats-to-democracy-as-hundreds-of-officers-gather-to-mark-policing-centenary-41941262.html Garda Commissioner Drew Harris warns of threats to democracy as hundreds of officers gather to mark police centenary

Fry Electronics Team

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