Interviewed 18 June 2021
In this section, retired Sergeant Eamon Hession speaks about his first station in Dun Laoghaire, where he was posted in 1972. He recalls the advice he got from senior gardaí and that which he applied throughout his career.
MS. DELANEY: So what was your first station, Eamon?
MR. HESSION: First station, Rita, was Dun Laoghaire on the 10th of November that same year, 1972. I always remembered I got a lift out from the depot to Dun Laoghaire, myself and another lad met a Sergeant, who was a friend of mine to this day and still alive, hale and hearty at 87. His first words to me was: “You’re welcome, son”. That’s the way we always knew him as “son”, he always said, you know: “Cover yourself, whatever you do.”
MS. DELANEY: [Laughs]
MR. HESSION: He gave me the best bit of advice which I kept always in my career: Treat everyone with respect and you’ll not go far wrong. Don’t have any favourites. Them were the few sentences he said to me on that day, which I have kept, as I say, for my service and tried to implement it as much as I could, and I think it served me well, you know.
MS. DELANEY: And I think an awful lot of people who joined got the same advice. And if they followed the same advice, and most of us did, respect everybody, have no favourites, and just do your job, do your duty, then you won’t go far wrong, and tell the truth in Court, we were always hammered in Kevin Street, I went to Kevin Street, hammered, don’t hell and you know, it was not in my nature, it wasn’t the way I was brought up, certainly, to tell a lie, but it was just something you were told over and over.
MR. HESSION: That’s right.
MS. DELANEY: If you lose a case and you get destroyed by solicitors, then so be it, like, you know.
MR. HESSION: Yeah, so be it, yeah, absolutely.
MS. DELANEY: Okay. So you were on a unit in Dun Laoghaire then, Eamon.
MR. HESSION: Unit D in Dun Laoghaire. There was two sergeants there, Albert Burke was the Sergeant, was one of my Sergeants at the time. I did the mundane work, the jailer, the beat for a few years. Then I progressed on to getting the observer in the patrol car, as you know, you probably.
MS. DELANEY: I do!
MR. HESSION: A big thing to get into a squad car.
MS. DELANEY: That was a huge bonus, huge.
MR. HESSION: It was, it was. And we had a driver at the time, Paddy Bohan, who is dead for years, he just drove the car, did the returns, ehm, looked after all that type of thing, but didn’t do any of the Court stuff or didn’t do any of the investigations or anything like that. That was my job. So I spent 12 years in the patrol car, Rita.
MS. DELANEY: Right.
MR. HESSION: 12 long years.
MS. DELANEY: And we will come to specific things now, but you must have seen everything and anything in 12 years on the patrol car?
MR. HESSION: Yeah, you did. I saw a lot. You saw a lot of fatal accidents and all that.
MS. DELANEY: Yes.
MR. HESSION: A lot of rows. Dun Laoghaire at the time would have been busy with a lot of social problems and you had a lot of weekends, rough weekends and fights, drunk and disorderlys, you did, like every place. But I must say I really enjoyed it and one aspect in particular, which I think it was community police before it ever happened.
MS. DELANEY: Ah yeah.
MR. HESSION: Yeah, we used to go around to all the houses, all the vacant houses, it was a thing we would do every day, we went around to every vacant house and checked, talked to the neighbours, I thought it was great learning. Even though, as I say, my driver now wouldn’t be into the rough and tumble at all, but I mean, you don’t have to be flying around the place chasing cars to be a good policeman or woman, do you know. You’d just, you know, you’d drive around slowly, that’s when you would see a lot of things, you know. So ’twas good.
MS. DELANEY: Yeah.
MR. HESSION: A lot of, a lot of accidents, one, in particular, I always remember, ehm, it was a fatal accident, ’twas about two in the morning, we were in for our tea and we got a call to Glenageary Road that there was a baby’s seat in the middle of the road and there was a car crash. So we feared the worst. ‘Twas the baby, there was no baby in the car, the seat was there but the mother was dead, you know. So it was something that always struck, it was very sad, really, you know, and had to go then and tell her parents, she was a young mother and ’twas terrible, you know. But, ehm…