Dev saved by an ex RIC man

It is documented that Éamon de Valera or Dev as he was known and his party (Fianna Fáil) turned up to take control of the Dáil (The Irish House of Parliament) having won the election in 1932. They were carrying arms as they expected opposition possibly armed. It has to be remembered that ten years earlier they had objected to the previous government an act which lead to the civil war in Ireland.

However, why they were carrying arms might not be understood within a historical context. There was anger that as some saw them the rebels who had objected to the government of the Irish Free State (as Ireland was known at that point) lead to the Irish civil war. When that war was over they threw their guns away rather than surrender them to authorities, time moved on. In 1932 they, the rebels won the vote and were poised to take control of the state. They carried weapons into the Dáil on day one as they themselves expected opposition.

My grandfather a member of the Garda Síochána at the time, told me that Dev and his party had good reason to be afraid.

The night before they took their seats in the Dáil there was a meeting of members of the Garda Síochána in the National Stadium. This meeting was very heated and was there was talk of sedition, the atmosphere was very rowdy and the situation tense. There tension rose as person after person decried the election of Finna Fáil those in the room were about were about to leave and arrest deValera and others. The air was describe as being thick with smoke and anger as it was only 10 years earlier they were at war with Dev.

An older man, a sergeant I believe, stood up at the back of the room and asked to address the floor. He was well known. The story he recounted was similar. He went on to tell his story*, he had worked in the RIC[1] and wanted to relate his story.
He recalled the day when the Free State was founded, he had gone to work one day and he was working for the Crown, later that day his allegiance was switched to the Free State. He pointed out to the assembly that, ‘… it was his job not to decide government, it was his job to carry out duties, enforcing the law of the land. It most certainly was not his place to object to the will of the people who elected a new body of people to govern.’

When the sergeant stopped, my grandfather said there was a change in the room, he never saw so many people exhale a breath and with that breath so the anger that had been building all evening died and they left to get on with their job.

Bertie as my grandfather was known to us, told me several stories all of them interesting, this one, was told to me in the nursing home he lived in a couple of months before he died.

[1]RIC This was the Royal Irish Constabulary, the police force in Ireland before the creation of the Irish Free State and loyal to the British Crown. They had been involved in the fight against Irish Independence.

This story was first released on a different block I had years ago, I rewrote in 2020.

Author: ompaul

I'm happy enough to write this stuff.

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