| 12.1°C Dublin

Garda's sad farewell to adopted 'Inspector'

Hundreds of gardai attended the funeral of a man who was adopted by one of Ireland's busiest and toughest stations.

Dubliner Michael 'Mickey' Edmonds (53) was invited to spend the day in Kevin Street Garda Station when he was eight -- and had been a regular fixture there ever since.

Known as the station's "chief inspector", Michael, who lived nearby, died last week after a short illness. He was buried after a funeral service attended by a large number of gardai.

In a special tribute, officers who are involved in the Tour de Force cycle charity posted on their website: "Mickey was a 'legend', not only to those that had the pleasure of serving in the 'A' District, but to members all over the country.

"Mickey was a regular at our launches and functions where we enjoyed his company, just as much as he did ours.

"In 2008, Tour de Force had the honour of raising funds for the Re Nua Project at Saint John of God, Celbridge, Co Kildare, where Mickey attended daily and where he sadly took ill last week and later died."

When Mickey first became such an important part of life at the station, he was suffering from the genetic syndrome known as Fragile X, and was unable to speak, read or write.

He spent a great deal of his days at the gates, watching gardai coming and going.



Humour

The decision to bring him into the station during daytime hours, with the permission of his family, was made by the famous Dublin garda of the time, Jim 'Lugs' Brannigan, who was in charge of the city's public order unit.

As Michael learned to speak, it was the station language he picked up first.

In a previous interview, his mother, Annie, recalled: "If he was in a bad humour he would put his elbow against the wall and start saying this thing like "fuhin eejeh".

"I couldn't make out what it was and I was forever asking myself, what was it he was saying. Then I realised. Oh my God.

"There was a neighbour who would come in. She was a very good living woman, very religious. She would ask me what Michael was saying. I'd say I had no idea."

Mickey was buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery after funeral mass at The Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, Francis Street, yesterday.

In torrential rain conditions, a guard of honour was formed by young garda members.

A senior detective who knew Mickey over the past two decades told the Herald: "Many in the station are devastated about the loss of Mickey. He was a true gent and will be sorely missed.

"We have one of the toughest beats in the country and after a tough shift meeting Mickey would always raise your spirits."

Mickey is survived by his mother Anne and siblings Dolores, Pauline, Brian, Garvan and Anne.

kfoy@herald.ie