Kildare Nationalist – Installation Details Athy’s Role in Early Garda Station Plates

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There was a strong turnout at Athy on Saturday 14 May for the unveiling of an art installation detailing the town’s role in creating the first plaques for Garda station in the 1920s.

The unveiling of ‘Athy – town of bricks and iron’ took place that morning in the parking lot of Madden, the former site of the Duthie Large engineering firm where the original Garda station plaques were produced.

According to author and Kildare historian James Durney, as a printed device, the Garda badge first appeared on the header of the police magazine. Iris and Gharda (February 1923). He noted that this was the subject of criticism at the Home Office when Garda Commissioner Michael J. Staines sought a financial penalty for the casting of metal station plaques.

The cast iron station plates were made by the Duthie and Large foundry in Athy from a mold by Herbert H. Painting, headmaster of Athy Technical School (later to become Athy College).

This project by Athy College, in association with the Annals of Athy 2021 (Industrial History) group, also commemorates the city’s very strong industrial heritage. The local school congratulated pupils Gabija and Jack for their presentation at the launch, adding that they are very proud of their association with the first production of the Garda crest.

“Bravo to the students and their teachers at Athy College for all their hard work on this project and of course to Anne Murphy and everyone who helped remember this historic event,” said Senator Mark Wall, who was part of of those who turned out for the unveiling.

The Kildare Decade of Commemorations has supported this project, together with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media as part of the Centenarians Decade initiative 2012-23.

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