If you think that the closure of Garda stations in rural parts of Ireland was a relatively recent occurrence, think again.
And if you think I’m making it up – I am not. I got the following report from a Castleisland native who served in An Garda Síochána and worked in some of the force’s most influential offices in the land.
And the District Commissioner, I’m reliably informed was the father of the author and former Irish Press editor Tim Pat Coogan. So there.
After a visit to Corofin Garda Station by District Commissioner Coogan in 1923 he produced the following report:
“Visited station in conjunction with Divisional tour. Sergt N. Lennon, 231, and Station party present.
When I arrived at the Station the Sergt sat glowering at me and refused to call the party to attention.
I called the party to attention myself, and Garda O’Neill tried to rise but fell into the fireplace.
I asked the Sergt to account for the state of affairs existing at the Station and he replied in such a manner as would do more justice to the worst corner boy in the slums of London.
I searched the Barrack and found that a seizure of poteen (3 gallons) made on the previous day had now been almost consumed by the Station party.
That Barrack servant sat with a baton in her hand, protecting the remainder of it, and refused to move.
She also had possession of the Station books and records and she refused to allow me to examine them.
In my examination of the Barracks I found that the W.C. Was filled with Station records, apparently used by the Station party on their visits there.
I heard noise coming from the cell and when I went to investigate, I found three young ladies there, from whom I took statements.
They complained that when passing the Barracks they were forcibly taken in by Sergt Lennon and gardaí Bourke and O’Toole for a purpose better imagined than described.
In the Station kitchen I found Garda Bourke. He caught me by the uniform and would not let go of me until I promised to refund him fine of £5 impose on him and have record of same erased.
When I returned to the front of the Barracks I found the Sergt urinating from the front door into the street and he started to argue with me on the footpath with his person exposed.
On leaving the Station I was approached by a local trader who demanded that I make the Station party pay some of their mess debts for the preceding 12 months , now amounting to £70.
The whole situation at Corofin Garda Station, Co. Galway, was disgraceful. I returned to Tuam and had all the Station party at Corofin suspended immediately.
I hope that the Divisional Officer will ensure that these men discharge their local debts before they, themselves are discharged from the force,” – E. Coogan.