Historical Experience

Retired Assistant Commissioner Catherine Clancy

Interviewed 25 October 2021

POLICING IN CAMBODIA

 

Catherine Clancy was the first woman to be appointed an assistant commissioner in An Garda Síochána on 10 September 2003. A native of Donegal, she joined AGS in 1975 and enjoyed steady promotion through the ranks. In 2008, she surprised many of her colleagues when she took early retirement. For more about the experience of women in AGS, visit HERE

In 1993 on promotion to Inspector, Catherine served with the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia. UNTAC was established by Security Council resolution 745 (1992) of 28 February 1992, to ensure the implementation of the Agreements on a Comprehensive Political Settlement of the Cambodia Conflict, signed in Paris on 23 October 1991. Here, Catherine speaks about her experience in Cambodia.

 

 

 

RETIRED ASST. COMM. CLANCY: Absolutely. So, again at that time then, as you know, when you’re on a list, you could be on it awhile before your turn comes and while I waiting for my turn I was approached by the Chief in B Branch as it was at the time and asked would I like to do six months as an Inspector with the United Nations as part of the transitional authority in Cambodia, UNTAC was the name of the mission and again I thought, wow what an opportunity is being handed to me and yeah, I took it. I was very glad to take it and it was just while I was there I was promoted and again, you know, that was an amazing experience because I was in charge of what was called the Commissioner’s Task Force and that was an international force of there was about 12 of us and I was in charge of those and our job was to investigate atrocities that were happening around Cambodia at the time and it was generally speaking where the Khmer Rouge were committing atrocities against the Vietnamese. There was one that I investigated and it was a massacre on the Tonle Sap, horrendous. The Khmer Rouge came in one night and just indiscriminately started shooting, shooting, shooting and there was women, children, pregnant women. I think there was 24 shot and this was a village on the lake and we had to go out the next morning and Joe Dowling was the Superintendent in the Siem Reap and the Tonle Sap was in the Siem Reap but the task force went down in to assist and it was a horrendous sight but again you’d think to yourself, you’re working with all of these different nationalities with all their own culture and customs and it was just an amazing experience. Lovely, lovely people, you know, all police officers in their own countries, Bangladesh, Africa, Australia, Germany, Cameroon, all over the place and it was a real honour to have been able to do that. Anyway, came back from that after six months and into Community Relations as an Inspector in Community Relations.