John Quinn joined An Garda Siochana on the 10th. of May 1955 – the year of the very hot Summer. It can be assumed that when he arrived at the Depot Gate at 9.00am from the Banner County he was eagerly looking forward to an interesting career in our force and perhaps with a bit of luck he might reach the top echelons of that great body.
However, greater things lay in store for John, who would only spend 5 years as a member of our organisation – but 5 very happy years. For the next 24 years he would take up different employment in far away Australia, joining the Commonwealth Public Service first. During his spare time he did voluntary work helping the Catholic Port Chaplain visiting ships and looking after the welfare of seafarers. Many Japanese ships came to Melbourne, so John decided to study the Japanese language at night school. This was a source of great joy to these Japanese people to hear John speaking their language. After spending many years with the Commonwealth Service in office work, he decided that was not his forte so he obtained a licence to drive a large truck, which he was very happy doing for about one year. But the lord had other ideas for our John as the call to the Priesthood was strong in his mind.
He answered that call and spent 5 years studying Theology in Sydney. His great day arrived on the 18th. of August 1984 when he was ordained in Ennis, Co. Clare. He celebrated his first Mass the next day which was his 50th. birthday. As he was giving out Communion at this first Mass 4 members who were stationed with him in Swanlinbar for two years back in the 1950s were in the line to receive Communion from him. It was indeed a nostalgic moment. The 4 members were – Tony Hanlon,(RIP) who had joined with him, John Hartigan, John Casey and Tom Hopkins. The subsequent celebrations can only be imagined. (If any of the latter 3 are “clicking in” perhaps they would comment regarding John’s current welfare as I have not been in touch with him since we met in Tullamore in May 2005 at our 50th Anniversary celebration)
Fr. John Quinn has now been 30 years labouring in the vineyards of Victoria. He has been the Parish Priest in St. Peters in Clayton, but not sure if his still in that Parish. He still retains great memories of his period as a member of An Garda Siochana, especially during his period on the Border. The conditions were indeed tough but the comradeship was first class. I think the majority of retired colleagues could echo the same sentiments regarding that great comradeship which exists within the Garda Siochana. It can be truthfully stated that the most outstanding individuals of our society have been members of An Garda Siochana, who should hold their heads high, despite recent events.
( Author =Noel Hynes )