Sergeant Frank Smith formerly of Garda Headquarters retired from An Garda Síochána on the 16th of September 2013. A surprise retirement party was held for Frank which was attended by Assistant Commissioner Fintan Fanning, Chief Supt Tony Mc Loughlin, Inspector Rita Delaney, Brian O’ Dea, National Executive AGSI and retired Superintendent Andy Fahy and many more friends and colleagues.
Brian O’ Dea presented an AGSI scroll to Frank to mark the occasion of his retirement and in appreciation of his dedicated work as a former Chairman of Garda Headquarters Branch of AGSI. Rita Delaney presented him with a bust on behalf his local branch.
The 16th of December 1983 will remain etched in the mind of Frank and many of his colleagues from September class of 1983 who were Garda Recruits had just completed their second exam in Police Duties and had no practical experience in Policing. Frank recalled how September 1983 Classes A,B,C, and D were tasked with assisting in carrying out searches in Derrada Woods outside the Ballinamore Co Leitrim for Don Tidey who had been kidnapped by the Provisional IRA on the 24th of November 1983 and was held captive for 23 days until he was rescued.
Frank and a number of his colleagues were in the core of the action when Mr. Tidey was rescued and a battle ensued between members of An Garda Síochána, the Army and the PIRA. Mr. Tidey became disorientated and was calmed and reassured by Frank.
Sgt. Joe O’Connor, Frank and a member of the Defence Forces brought Mr. Tidey to safety from Derradda Wood on that day. Joe showed excellent maturity and leadership on the day and especially when they discovered Mr. Tidey beside the IRA hideout.
Frank and his colleagues Kevin Ring, Paul Gillen and others demonstrated unbelievable bravery under gunfire that day, but their bravery was never acknowledged by An Garda Síochána. A classmate and friend Recruit Garda Garry Sheehan and Private Patrick Kelly from the Defence Forces made the ultimate sacrifice that day.
We wish Frank a healthy and happy retirement.
Photos by Alan Dowley