Saturday, 27th August, signalled the “end of an era” for a two storey red-brick Garda Station in Ballincollig, Co Cork. The building was originally constructed in 1894 as a “Warrant Officers Quarters” but since the 24th September, 1924 the Garda Síochána Crest marked it as the home and Garda Station for Gardai. The honour of opening the Garda Station in Ballincollig in 1924, went to three young Gardai:- (1) Gda. Tom Bane, native of Ennis, Co. Clare; (2) Gda. Jim Banim, native of Greenhills, Co. Kilkenny; and (3) Gda. Michael Maher, from Edenderry, Co. Offaly.
When the 117 year old red-brick building came tumbling-down last week and made its way to the landfill, a new generation of Gardai were enjoying a “State of the Art” New Garda Station. The new Garda Station is a “District HQ Model” built within yards of the old building. It is beautifully designed with all the modern facilities required by the Garda Siochana to cope with a 30,000 plus population.
Ballincollig has a long association with Police Forces. In 1822 an Act of Parliament was passed establishing four Provincial Police Forces with Training Depots in :- Armagh (North); Ballincollig (South); Ballinroble (West) and Daingean (Mid-lands). In 1836 these forces were amalgamated to form the “Irish Constabulary” responsible for Policing the whole country, except Dublin. In 1867 this force was giving the title “Royal Irish Constabulary”. To-day, only the trace of a concrete pier marks the original site of the Police Training Centre which stood at Faversham Square, West Village, Ballincollig. Likewise, while Ballincollig Garda Station did bloom on many occasions over the years, winning many National Gardens & Tidy Town Awards, it still has the old entrance-gate to remind retired Garda colleagues of the place they once trod.
In saluting the past, the Garda Retired Members in Cork extend best wishes to the Garda Síochána in Ballincollig for the future.