One of the heroes of an Gardai Siochána, a pioneer of policing, a man of great bravery, a daring master of espionage, a man who cherished the place he came from.
These were some of the descriptions used to pay tribute to Col Ned Broy at the unveiling of a monument in his honour at Coolygagen Graveyard near Clonbullogue last Saturday September 17.
Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan said Col Broy had a professional efficiency and many of the policing techniques he introduced are still in use today. He emphasised he had a tough job in developing an unarmed police force in the country at a time when there were still many divisions.
“The fact that An Garda Siochana enjoy such a high level of trust is testament to past generations such as Eamon Broy. He was a pioneer of policing and holds a special place in An Garda Siochana,” he said.
Minister Charlie Flanagan cited Broy's bravery and emphasised he made an important contribution to the struggle for Irish Independence. Just yards, from Broy's graveside, the monument was unveiled by his daughter Áine and the Minister. Aine's sister, Elizabeth Taafe and her children Deirdre, Peter, Thomas and Andrew, their children and grandchild were also present.
Born in Ballinure, just a stone's throw from the graveyard, Broy went to school in Rathangan and was a proud Kildare man. He played a crucial role in the War of Independence, smuggling information to Michael Collins. He was arrested and spent five months in solitary confinement, but was released under the Truce.
Michael Collins brought him to London for the Treaty negotiations as his bodyguard. Broy later went on to become Ireland's first ever Garda Commissioner, appointed by Eamon De Valera, and was also president of the Irish Olympics Council.
A large crowd gathered at the ceremony with Air Corp Brig Gen Paul Fry; Ceann Comhairle, Sean O'Fearghail, Dep Martin Heydon; Mayor of Kildare, Ivan Keatley as well as politicians from Offaly and Kildare also present. The committee was praised for all its hard work.
Aine recalled how her father died in her arms in 1972. “After 44 years I am glad to see this day. Thank God I did not fall off my perch in the meantime,” she said.
PHOTOS: TONY KEANE