Sergeant Tim Bowe
8 September 2021
GARDA NATIONAL MERIT AWARD
Retired Sergeant Tim Bowe joined An Garda Síochána on the 8th of May 1968 and served until 2004. He is a native of County Tipperary where his family are steeped in the GAA. His grandfather, Ned Bowe was a member of the Tipperary hurling team that won the first All Ireland in 1887. In this selection, Tim Bowe reflects on receiving the Garda National Merit Award in 1994, in recognition of his service.
JOHN O’BRIEN: Tim, now you’ve described many interesting events in the course of your career, but in 1994, you were someone who had always a lifelong interest in history, the history of the guards, the local community and all of the interaction between the community and the guards themselves. But also 1994, it was the 70th anniversary of An Garda Síochána. In that year, Tim, you won the Garda National Merit Award. Perhaps you’ll lead us through, Tim, the events that resulted in you getting that very prestigious award.
RETIRED SGT. TIM BOWE: Okay. Well, John, I came to Ballincollig as Sergeant in Charge in 1991 and within a year I realised, I contacted the Garda Museum in Dublin to find out a little bit about the history of the Garda Síochána in Ballincollig. It became clear to me that the Force would be celebrating the 70th anniversary in Ballincollig in September 1994.
So I organised a number of things. I have an interest in local history, a small interest. What I did was, during 1994 I researched the history of the Garda Síochána over that 70year period and I researched the building, the Garda Barracks as well. So a part of it, I held a local history night in the local hotel, invited the public to come, discuss, tried to find out the names of the gardaí who served the town and their knowledge about the Garda Síochána. I recorded the names of approximately 90 members of the force, 14 members of Garda Sergeant and the clerical assistants who worked in the town.
I got a Mass celebrated for the deceased members who had served Ballincollig and that. I organised, or with the gardaí in Ballincollig, we organised a gardaí poetry competition amongst the Fifth and Sixth Class primary school children in, among six schools in Ballincollig Garda Subdistrict. The competition was actually judged by Retired Superintendent Terry Kelly, Terry Kelly. Writing pens and biros or gifts were presented to 35 winners. The winning poems were published in a local newspaper. We had a coffee morning for Marymount Hospice. The coffee morning was held in the garda station during the year and we collected €1,000 for Marymount Hospice. The garda station itself, it was painted and decorated. We entered the station in the National Tidy Towns competitions and in the National Gardens competitions. We won first prize in the Tidy Towns and a silver medal in the National Gardens competition.
The Muskerry Leader newspaper that circulated the area, it did a special supplement of 24 pages. It published the photograph of the garda station and all the history associated with the gardaí, with the garda buildings, with the garda buildings. The Irish Examiner on the day, or on the 24th September 1994, it published a feature article explaining that, and we had a social in the local hotel. Finally, a plaque was unveiled in the garda station, which is still there, by Chief Superintendent Joe Long so that the gardaí and the members of the public, who would visit the station, will always know the history associated with the garda building. Here’s a photograph of some of the prizes that was won by Ballincollig that year, that year.
So that is the history. One year later in 1995, it was, the Garda Commissioner, he actually sought nominations from people, gardaí throughout Ireland, throughout the 26 counties who had done something that might be considered for a National Merit Award and a Divisional Merit Award. 26 Divisional Merit Awards winners were announced, and from the 26, I was one of the 26, I was selected from, from the 26 to be the National Award winner. In the Garda Training College in Templemore, I was presented with this trophy, Tipperary, silver Tipperary glass trophy which I have. Basically, it says that the trophy, the inscription on the trophy says:
“Garda Síochána na hÉireann.
Garda Síochána National Merit Award 1994 winner presented to Sergeant Tim Bowe, Ballincollig, by the Garda Commissioner.”
So that’s it. That’s the story of the National Merit Award 1994.