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Mentor's words of warning turned out to be prophetic

ONE of the most renowned gardai in the history of the force has recalled how garda Dick Fallon mentored him as a young officer.

Tony Hickey -- regarded as the finest officer never to have become Commissioner -- was given his first posting at Mountjoy Garda Station.

He said: "When I arrived from Templemore I was stationed in Mountjoy Station, where Dick Fallon would have been one of the senior gardai, and he mentored us younger people.

"At the time Ireland was a pretty stable, conservative society and serious crime was virtually unheard of.

"There was a certain amount of burglaries, larcenies; a certain amount of violence such as bad rows outside pubs. Some people carried knives and guns were most unusual. But that changed with the arrival of Saor Eire."



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Hickey, who later became Assistant Commissioner, added: "'Dick Fallon was very concerned about the activities of Saor Eire and how their robberies were becoming more violent. "In his wisdom he probably knew it was only a matter of time before they killed someone, especially a guard. I remember the day he stood in the front office in Mountjoy Station at parade time and addressed our unit before we went out on the beat.

"He told us to be extra vigilant and careful on the street. In his case, he said, a Scott Medal awarded posthumously wouldn't be any good to his widow.

"His words turned out to be very prophetic."

On the day Fallon was shot by Saor Eire criminals, Hickey was one of the first officers to make the devastating discovery that his mentor had been shot dead.

hnews@herald.ie