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The World of Constable John Hennigan, Royal Irish Constabulary 1912 – 1922

GAHS member, Hal Hennigan examines the historical role of the Irish police force through the life of one police constable.

In 1912 the average Irish Constable was a generally useful member of society, filling in numerous forms in his role of minor bureaucrat, and pursuing petty criminals. He had little to do with firearms. By 1922 he had become an outcast to many and a friend to few. Those who thought his treatment unjust were generally unwilling to take the risk of saying so. This is the story of how an average country policeman was caught up in the swirl of political movements which led to murderous violence. It looks at the social and political contexts of historical events. Caught between the hammer of IRA violence and the anvil of government obduracy, the regular constables became sacrifices to political expediency. Using the police career of John Hennigan as a framework, this book follows public events in chronological order, against a background of the details of everyday life in the last decade under the Crown. “There were well over 500 police deaths attributable to political violence. For too long the received narrative concerning the Irish police was a one-dimensional caricature. Things were much more complex than that. Hundreds of thousands of people today have connections with the Royal Irish Constabulary. For them, I hope to broaden their understanding of the police force in which their relatives served with pride.” Hal Hennigan is a former history teacher in Dublin, and publican in Sligo. He spent many years in Abu Dhabi as a English teacher, and then as teacher trainer over several continents. Hal now lives as a writer in Galway, Ireland.

Available from Charlie Byrnes Bookshop at the Corn Store, Galway

ISBN: 9781789015256 Price: £15.00