Policing In Ireland EARLY DAYS

Ted Finaly

23 Oct 2021



FINLAY: Well, so as Michael Staines was a Commissioner as was Ring, I forget his first name now, Ring, but both of those were sons of RIC men and they were both from Mayo.

MR. FINLAY:And one morning on the parade anyhow when they were out on parade this dissension started amongst the guards and that and they didn’t want, you know, they objected to be saluting those officers.  As I said, they were higher ranking men in the IRA themselves.  So dissension broke out anyhow and Staines, Michael Staines and Ring and a few more of those top ranking RIC men decided they would leave.  And Ring, or Michael Staines thought it would be safer to leave even though afterwards Michael Collins said he shouldn’t have left, but he left. 

And subsequently then after they left they closed the gates, they were classed as Mutineers at that stage but they were pro‑Collins still, they weren’t, you know, they weren’t anti‑system, they were very pro‑Collins.  They stayed and they closed the gates and they armed themselves inside and they formed their own; Paddy Brennan was Commissioner and there was a PJ Haugh from Doonbeg, Assistant Commissioner, and then Martin Lynch was an Adjuvant.  They formed, in other words they put their own command structure, they put it in force there. 

There was strict, everything was under strict rule and there was a routine order that was put up on the board. There was parade and there was drill and they carried out classes.  And then it went on as it was before but it was with this new command structure that was there.  And Michael Staines had gone back to Dublin at the time and he actually, I think he resigned from the Commissioner at one stage, but I think Michael Collins put pressure on him and he came back again. 

So they were there and another incident happened when they were there.  Some of those that came into the Gardaí there in ’22, this small group, they were the Irregulars, they called them, well they were anti‑Treaty but they came in to cause disruption in the Force and they tried to entice a lot of the recruits that were there to come with them to the Four Courts up to Rory O’Connor.