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In this timely history of the Garda Siochana, Conor Brady, widely recognised as the most authoritative historian of Irish policing, explores some of the biggest challenges the force has faced since 1960. Beginning with one of their greatest tests - maintaining the security of the Irish State during the Northern crisis - he goes on to chronicle the emergence of guns in Irish criminal life and the rapid expansion of the domestic drug trade. Acknowledged as one of the successes of the independent Irish State, the Garda Siochana has not been without its flaws and its failings, and the author does not shy away from exploring these. The Guarding of Ireland comprehensively covers the recent crisis surrounding the alleged bugging of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), privacy concerns in relation to the recording of Garda phone calls, and the penalty points/whistle-blower controversy that led to the resignation of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Justice Minister Alan Shatter. Other fascinating subjects explored are how the supposed operational independence of the organisation has led to clashes with those in political authority, the difficulties surrounding structural reform and the author's thesis that there is a distinct correlation between the political health of the State and the way its police discharge their functions. It is a story marked by success and failure, by attempted reform and resistance to change, by outstanding individual performance and deplorable lapses in discipline. More than an account of policing and politics, this is the story of the Republic's troubled coming of age. REVIEWS: 'Conor Brady's new book, The Guarding of Ireland, takes the history of the force from 1960 to the present day, through the State's fight for its very survival against subversives - his access to the 1970s Finlay report lays bare the State's terrifying vulnerability - only then to collide with the hydra-headed monster of organised crime.' - Kathy Sheridan, The Irish Times 'The Guarding of Ireland focuses on Irish policing from 1969, which saw both the publication of the Conroy report and the commencement of the Troubles, up to the current and ongoing scandals that this year have led to the resignation of both a commissioner and a minister for justice.' - Vicky Conway, The Irish Times Weekend Review 'The prevailing culture echoes down through the five decades covered in The Guarding of Ireland. For every vignette of personal heroism, like that of Garda Reynolds, for every case of dedicated public service from individual members, there are also examples of a culture that leaves much to be desired. What emerges from these pages, however, is that the culture within the force is attributable, to a great extent, to attitudes and oversight from its political masters. In this regard, nothing looms as large as the darkest days of the Troubles.' - Mick Clifford, Irish Examiner
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Timely analysis as the Garda Siochana navigates one of the most difficult years since its foundation.

About the Author

Conor Brady has been a journalist, editor and author for more than 40 years and is widely recognised as the most authoritative historian of Irish policing. From Tullamore, he studied history and politics at UCD. On graduation in 1969 he joined The Irish Times where he was editor from 1986 to 2002, the culmination of a long, successful career in print and broadcast journalism. His memoir Up with The Times was published by Gill & Macmillan in 2005. Brady was also editor of the Garda Review for a time and in 1974 published a history of the Garda Siochana from its foundation to 1972, Guardians of the Peace (Gill & Macmillan). Since retiring from The Irish Times he has continued to have a varied and interesting career. Among the roles he has assumed are writer of crime fiction, member of the Remembrance Commission, founding Commissioner of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission and weekly columnist with The Sunday Times.

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