Interviewed 17 June 2021
In this piece of audio, retired Inspector Rita Delaney and Retired Detective Garda Garvan Ware reflect on Dubliner Michael ‘Mickey’ Edmonds, a civilian with a genetic syndrome known as Fragile X, who spent many years with AGS at Kevin Street Garda Station. Edmonds was invited to spend the day in Kevin Street Garda Station when he was eight and spent the following four decades, as an ever-present fixture at the station, where he endeared himself to Gardaí who served there over the years. Mickey had a genetic syndrome known as Fragile X, and was unable to speak, read or write, but developed the ability to speak as he got older. Mickey died in 2011 at the age of 53 and his funeral at The Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, Francis Street, was organised and attended by AGS who had known him at Kevin Street Station, where a photographic tribute hangs in his honour. The annual Mickey Edmonds Memorial Cup is played in his honour, between Kevin Street and Kilmainham Garda stations.
RITA DELANEY: The reason I asked you for this interview and we have talked about this was that we would like to commentate Michael Edmonds in this oral history of An Garda Síochána for the centenary year next year and we would have like to have him included for the person he was and for prosperity and the people coming in after us. I always said there was room for almost everybody in An Garda Síochána. When I landed in Kevin Street in 1984, it was November, Richie Moullet and a fella that you mightn’t have known called John Sheehan picked me up from the bus. I couldn’t bring my own car, that was against regulations, it was all different. I came in and I met Gerry Lovett. There was a man standing in the public office and I looked at him and I thought to myself: Okay, that guy must be a detective now, he was a bit dishevelled so I thought undercover, probably doing undercover work. Hill Street Blues used to be on television and there was a couple of undercover guys in that and they were dishevelled and I thought this was so. Gerry Lovett brought me up the stairs to meet the superintendent, I suppose, and I said to him: Who is that man in the office? He said: That is Mickey. Then he explained to me that Mickey was Michael Edmonds and that Mickey had an intellectual disability, I think it is called now, back then I suppose they would call it special needs.
MR. WARE: Yes, of course.
RITA DELANEY: Mickey lived across the road in the flats and he had been coming into Kevin Street Garda Station from the time he was able to walk. That was my experience of meeting Mickey. What about yourself Garvan, when did you meet Mickey first and what did you think?
GARVAN WARE: Do you know what Rita it is basically I am telling you the same story, it is remarkable, obviously the same unit was working that night but I got collected in a van and the driver of the van was Fachtna O’Donovan.
RITA DELANEY: Oh yes, I remember him well. I am still in contact with him actually, he is down in Castletownbere.
MR. WARE: That is right, from West Cork. We got in to the back of the van, the four of us, but there was a guy in the passenger seat and I can still remember the fingers kind of gripping the grill and he just looked so imposing. Again I remember he was well dressed, as in a shirt and tie and that. I really hadn’t a clue who he was, it was a November evening, it was down to Kevin Street, there was a bit of chat going on between us and Fachtna and Mickey was throwing in a few tuppence worths as well. When we came into the station the first person I met was Mickey Corcoran. He was there just the cool dude that he was, a big tall, slim man … Having a cigarette.
RITA DELANEY: Yeah, he loved a smoke.
MR. WARE: Just welcomed us, where were we all from. Of course, the link I was lucky to have, because he was a Carlow man himself, he just told us basically what the place was. I don’t know did he even tell us who Mickey was, I was still wondering who he was, and he told us that we had to be in on the Saturday morning to meet with the Superintendent. That was my first encounter, it was the van ride from Garda Headquarters to Kevin Street with Mickey in observer.
RITA DELANEY: Absolutely. He loved the patrol car, getting a spin in it. He loved the van. He loved using the radios. Mickey attended a special school in Celbridge. He had done that for years and years. When he would come home in the evenings he would come across to the station. He liked to be in amongst the Guards and he would do messages for us as well. I do remember if you gave Mickey a fiver and asked him to get a sandwich he would get it but he would never give you back the change … I often wondered about the disability, he was a very unusual guy, you know. I heard, and I don’t know if this is true, that when he was a kid, a small kid and he came across to the station I think one of the first people he met was Lugs Branigan? He cursed at Lugs and that was the first words he spoke. That is where it started from. His mother was delighted that Mickey was three or four years of age and he started to talk.