The Department of Justice has announced its plans for a programme of events over the coming years to mark the centenaries of several important moments in the history of the justice sector.
The events are part of the Decade of Centenaries programme, and include a symposium on ‘Justice in Ireland 1822-2022’, which will take place on 22 November this year.
This year marks the centenaries of the establishment of an Garda Síochána, the occupation of the Four Courts, and the enactment of the Irish Free State constitution.
The symposium will take place in the Printworks of Dublin Castle, and is aimed at providing an opportunity to consider the development of both policing and justice institutions – including the evolution of the prison and probation services.
More details of this event are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
‘Open and honest’ discussion
“Both 1922 and the years that followed saw many developments and transitions, including the end to the revolutionary Dáil Courts regime, and the establishment of the courts system of the new State,” said Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.
She called for an “open and honest” discussion of the events of these years – including those that had not received enough attention in the past.
The programme for the justice sector will run until 2024, to mark the centenaries of the Courts of Justice Act 1924, which established a new system of courts for the Irish Free State, and the Ministers and Secretaries Act 1924, which renamed the Department of Home Affairs as the Department of Justice.
The flagship commemorative event for an Garda Síochána will be held at Dublin Castle on 27 August 2022.
This will recreate the occasion in August 1922 when Commissioner Michael Staines led 380 Civic Guards through the Palace Street gates into Dublin Castle after its evacuation by the British Army.
The force will also launch a new historical, online photo archive of policing this year.
Public Record Office
An online event tomorrow (14 April) in the Court of Appeal (formerly the reading room of the Public Record Office), will mark the first day of the occupation of the Four Courts in 1922.
The battle for the Four Courts led to the destructions of the Public Record Office.
The Beyond 2022 research project, dedicated to the virtual reconstruction of the office, will launch its work on 30 June this year.
A joint commemorative event, with the Courts Service and National Archives of Ireland, is planned for October 2022 to mark the work of the Constitution Committee, which culminated in the enactment of the Free State Constitution on 6 December 1922.
The department says that further information on specific plans to consider the document, and its long-term impact, will be announced later in 2022.