RIC disbandment ceremony held
About 150 people attended a ceremony to commemorate the disbandment of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) in 1922, and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) in 1925, at Glasnevin Cemetery this afternoon.
The event, which consisted mainly of religious readings and lasted almost an hour, was organised by two retired members of the Garda Síochána, Gerard Lovett and Pat McCarthy.
The attendance included former members of Northern Ireland’s Royal Ulster Constabulary and people who are related to members of the RIC and DMP.
The site chosen for the event is a mass grave of RIC members that is still understood to be the property of the British Home Office. Directly facing it is a burial place for members of the DMP.
About 100 metres away, further DMP members are buried, including Constable Michael Lahiff (28) who was one of the first members of the force to be killed in the 1916 Rising.
Among those taking part today were Mr Jim McDonald, chairman of the Belfast-based RUC George Cross Foundation, who laid a wreath of poppies at the RIC grave.
He said he had never expected to see such an event in Dublin: "It's been a long time coming, but all the more welcome."
Today's event coincided with the 90th birthday of retired Det Sergeant Michael Reilly who came along to pay particular tribute to the memory of his father, also called Michael, a sergeant in the RIC who survived an IRA ambush in 1921 near Keadue, Co Roscommon.
Organiser Gerard Lovett, a retired Garda Inspector said: "A lot more people turned up than I expected." He had only anticipated "twenty to thirty, if we were lucky".
Asked about those who had objected to the ceremony because of the RIC's association with the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries, he replied: "We move on; if the Queen can shake hands with Martin McGuinness, it's time we moved on, isn't it?"
He was "thrilled at the way it turned out" but did not think there would be sufficient support for an annual commemoration: "We’d never get the same again."
Retired Garda Murt O’Sullivan who was in attendance said: "I thought it was very good and I hope it’s done every year."
A small group of republican protesters turned up for the event but left after a short burst of heckling. A number of gardaí on duty were in attendance.