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.
In this segment, Rita and Garvan recall how Mickey was able to access all areas within Kevin Street Station.
RITA DELANEY: What are your memories of Mickey then while you were in Kevin Street?
MR. WARE: I suppose after the first day I remember I worked the following night, then was off for a few days and back in then midweek the following week. Obviously day by day I probably figured out who he was or what his role was. I suppose it was just remarkable, Rita, he had access, I mean access all areas. I don’t mean in an unprofessional, he just fitted in as if he was any other guard in the place. He fitted in. You have custody suites now and custody areas, Kevin Street wasn’t quite that advanced, it was a detention cell right inside the front door. He was there come whatever hustle or bustle. He was up in the canteen. He was in the radio room. You could look out sometimes and you would think: Why is the window wipers going on the car or the van? And he could be sitting in the driver’s seat of that. It was just remarkable but terribly, terribly comfortable as in you could discharge your duties at all times having him right on your shoulder. It would be very hard to explain to someone who wasn’t stationed in Kevin Street and it would nigh on impossible to explain it to someone joining today. That like it never interfered whatsoever in the time I was there and in my time in the Detective Unit, the 2000s in particular. It was a really busy time, it was busy for serious crime and there was always prisoners and solicitors in and out of the station. He was there but it is as if he wasn’t there to them. No one ever questioned his presence, and I mean like even over the years it was remarkable to see maybe a prisoner who had been arrested for the first time in about ten or 15 years and he would come in and he would nearly chuckle. He would see himself sitting in an armchair in the public office or the old SHO’s chair and he would just say: ‘He is still here, is he?’ I am sure there was times but I never remember anyone turning on him or getting angry with him, or whatever. So as I say you would have to be there to witness it.
RITA DELANEY: Yeah. You mentioned there that he had access to all areas. In fact, if you mislaid something Mickey was a great man to find it.
MR. WARE: Yeah, like you say there
RITA DELANEY: He watched everything that was going on and he would see you leaving it someplace and he would say: ‘Well you left it over there.’ He had a bit of a speech impediment. ‘You left it over there.’ He was a great man to find things. As you say prisoners came in and solicitors came in and Garda management came in and everybody and anybody and there was never a problem. The reason we are capturing this is because people coming after you and me simply would not understand.
MR. WARE: I could stand corrected on this, the condition he had, or whatever, I think it was diagnosed, it was a thing called Fragile X and I think it could be hereditary, it was in the family. Even as you say there like the old public office in Kevin Street if you opened the hatchback in the ’90s up to the mid-2000s the SHO had a big table in front of the hatch, he sat in behind it and that is where he did his work but Mickey sat there more often than not. When it would be particularly busy at times you had all sorts of hard-backed books back then, different journals. Different manual books for accidents, recording crime, you name it, and sometimes if you were in a hurry, or whatever, one could be staring you in the face and you wouldn’t see it and you could say: ‘Mickey, Mickey where is the personal injury book?’ They would all look the same, Rita, and the next thing he would pick the one you were looking for out of the pile and it was just remarkable to see him do that. There was obviously whatever maybe he lacked in some ways he had enhanced senses in other ways.