Garda to spend up to half a million on centenary medals and coins

Medals to be issued to serving and retired gardaí as well as dignitaries

The Garda is to spend up to half a million euro on memorabilia to commemorate the foundation of the organisation 100 years ago.

Management is seeking to purchase thousands of coins and medals bearing the Garda insignia which will be distributed to serving and retired members of the force as well as dignitaries.

An Garda Síochána will mark the centenary of its foundation next year. The organisation was officially founded on February 22nd, 1922 and was initially known as the Civic Guard. It took over policing duties from both the Royal Irish Constabulary and its parallel organisation, the Irish Republican Police, eight months after the end of the War of Independence.

Policing duties in the capital remained the function of the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) until 1925 when it was subsumed in the Garda.


The Garda estimates the memorabilia may cost between €350,000 and €500,000 excluding VAT, according to tendering documents.

A total of 26,000 medals are to be ordered, along with 5,000 commemorative coins. Another 50 “sterling silver” centenary coins will also be ordered.

Each of the 18,000 current gardaí and civilian staff will receive a medal or coin, along with more than 11,000 retired personnel. The memorabilia is to be delivered to divisional and district offices before December 31st, this year.

The medals will be made of a bronze alloy and “shall be delicately modelled in all of its fine detail fashioned after the manner of the official An Garda Síochána crest and in the centre circle of An Garda Síochána crest will contain the chosen 1922/2022 dates”.

The order will also include a high-quality presentation box and ribbon bars for the medals, according the documents published by the Garda.

The idea of a commemorative medal was first suggested by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors and was raised in the Dáil by Independent TD for Kildare Cathal Berry.


Mr Berry, a former Army officer, said similar medals were handed out to members of the Defence Forces to mark the 1916 centenary.

As part of the Garda centenary celebrations next year, an event will be held on February 7th to mark a meeting in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin of a committee which decided to form the Civic Guard. This would later be renamed An Garda Síochána under section 22 of the 1923 Garda Síochána (Temporary Provisions) Act.

A second event, on August 21st, 2022, will commemorate the “storming of Dublin Castle” by the then Garda commissioner on August 17th, 1922, when the Civic Guard took control of Dublin Castle.

A similar State event planned by the Government last year to commemorate the RIC and DMP was abandoned following significant public backlash.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times