Interviewed 17 June 2021
LEVITY THAT YOU NEEDED – REFLECTIONS ON MICKEY EDMONDS
Here, retired Inspector Rita Delaney and Retired Detective Garda Garvan Ware reflect on Dubliner Michael ‘Mickey’ Edmonds, a civilian with a genetic syndrome known as Fragile X, who spent many years with AGS at Kevin Street Garda Station. Edmonds was invited to spend the day in Kevin Street Garda Station when he was eight and spent the following four decades, as an ever-present fixture at the station, where he endeared himself to Gardaí who served there over the years. Mickey had a genetic syndrome known as Fragile X, and was unable to speak, read or write, but developed the ability to speak as he got older. Mickey died in 2011 at the age of 53 and his funeral at The Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, Francis Street, was organised and attended by AGS who had known him at Kevin Street Station, where a photographic tribute hangs in his honour. The annual Mickey Edmonds Memorial Cup is played in his honour, between Kevin Street and Kilmainham Garda stations.
RITA DELANEY: As you say I never came across anybody, new superintendents or inspectors or anybody who were not completely at ease and comfortable with Mickey around the place. He died relatively young then.
GARVAN WARE: I suppose even just before I get to that you talked about it yourself, about the A district being busy. You know even there is something to that, like, you know, not every day was busy, not every day was stressful, far from it, but in the most stressful of situations it would give you a little breather, you just might see him as you would pass by or he might call you when you wouldn’t have the time and it would bring you back to your reality
RITA DELANEY: Correct.
MR. WARE: and his reality. Just for that minute, it gave you a bit of levity that you needed.
RITA DELANEY: Yes. He’d be calm you know and he brought that with him.
MR. WARE: Yeah. He died, I think he was 53 years of age when he died, he passed away suddenly out of the blue in October of 2011. I would say it was for some people in that station, I won’t say they never got over it but it had as big an effect on them as a family member, Rita there is no shadow of a doubt.
RITA DELANEY: He was a huge loss and he left a huge void in the station.
MR. WARE: Yeah. I can tell you where I was when I heard the news, I was on my way driving somewhere and someone rang me and I just couldn’t believe it when they told me. You could have rang me and told me a lot of people something had happened but I suppose we weren’t expecting it. I suppose for Mickey and maybe for his mother Annie and his brother and his sisters you know it might have been looking back a bit of relief for them in that if he was going to go he went quickly, although it was unexpected and he was young. He was an awful patient. He was shocking. Even if he had an aul head cold he was a shocking, a terrible patient. You would have had hated to see, he had a great life up to 53, he would have hated
RITA DELANEY: Yes, you wouldn’t like to have seen him incapacitated in any way.
MR. WARE: No, exactly, that wouldn’t have been for him. His mother subsequently died but she would often have said to you after, after Mickey himself died, she would often have said to you that she was okay with the world that he went before her.
RITA DELANEY: That is quite, you kind of caught my breath there.
MR. WARE: I suppose it was just one of these things that at the end of the day he was still her boy.
RITA DELANEY: Yes, there is no doubt about it.
MR. WARE: Even into her mid-80s she had worries about what would happen to Mickey after she died.
RITA DELANEY: She lived a good long life. You had the honour of doing the eulogy in the church in Francis Street, Garvan … How did that come about and how did you feel about doing it?
MR. WARE: I suppose how it came about really was when Mickey died, I am going to say it was on maybe a Tuesday morning or that, his mother and his sister I think were away in the Canary Islands
RITA DELANEY: That’s right.
MR. WARE: on holidays. I suppose it is not as if they were in mainland Spain or mainland Europe so to get them home it took a bit of time, I don’t think they came home until near the end of that week or were able to get home. There was meetings about Mickey’s funeral and I remember going to one meeting, I think it was on the Friday, and like there was uniformed detectives, whatever branch there was in Kevin Street at the time, and there was about 12 or 13 of us at a big table in Kevin Street. Teddy Muldoon was the Superintendent, Adrian Whitelaw was there, Tim Meehan, Richie Moullet, Linda Williams, I name them because they were so, so good to Mickey so, so good to his family. I could name 400 people … In particular they were always so good to him, there was 12 or 13 of us there and it just was discussed about what way to do his funeral, what we felt he was owed, what he was entitled to, you know you had to be careful with protocols as well. To us he was a member of An Garda Síochána and we wanted to give him the send-off that any member would get but I suppose you would have to be careful there are probably strict protocols with regards to what honours a full member of An Garda Síochána gets … We wanted to do as much for him as we possibly could and then it just came up about that someone had spoken to the family and the family had said that they would like someone to say a few words on behalf of them, on behalf of everyone else. I don’t know how it quite came about but one or two people just said to me just on the spot or at that meeting would I do it and I said well if people are okay with that I said, yeah, absolutely.
RITA DELANEY: Mickey’s family were very much okay with that.
MR. WARE: Yeah, absolutely. You know it was probably a big task in some ways, Rita, but a very easy one in others but you could have written ten eulogies about him, and that is a fact.
RITA DELANEY: Can I tell you that you did an absolutely superb job?
MR. WARE: I appreciate that. I always felt that genuinely I suppose any thoughts that were put into it you were thinking what everyone else thought. You just wanted people to know that whoever spoke it, whoever wrote it, whoever said it that it was the same coming from me or yourself, Rita, or anyone else.