SIGNIFICANT changes have taken place in An Garda Siochana since a young Mick Nevin joined the force in 1982. Superintendent Nevin who retires later this month tells Mary Cody how these changes over the past three decades have created a more effective and community-orientated police force.
SUPERINTENDENT Mick Nevin has worked in several different areas of An Garda Siochana and will be remembered as an honest and personable garda who was involved in bringing about many important changes within the force.
Originally from Bagenalstown Co Carlow he joined the force in 1982 and was stationed at Harcourt Terrace in Dublin before moving to Kilmacthomas in 1985 and onto Waterford in 1986. He spent six years in Waterford before been promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to Mooncoin in 1992. In 1994 he moved back to Waterford where he served in the regional units before taking up the post as the divisional in-service training sergeant in the Waterford/Kilkenny division. He spent one year in this role before taking on the role of divisional clerk to the then Chief Superintendent Sean O’Halloran. He was then transferred to sergeant-in-charge at Waterford Garda Station until he was promoted to the rank of inspector in 2001 and went to the Garda College where he worked in the Human Rights and Quality Service Bureau for 13 months.
“During this time I was involved in the development of human right principles in policing and I moved into training and development and improving the service from within. This was a hugely benefical and learning experience. During this time I also qualified as a European Quality Management Assessor and obtained a diploma in Information Technology. I also attended a number of European conferences and was involved in policy development for in-service training,” he said.
In 2002 Supt Nevin returned to Waterford where he served as District Inspector for community policing, crime and also prosecuted in the District Court. During this period he was involved in many high profile cases including the Mamie Walsh murder. Mick Nevin was the acting district officer in Tramore at the time the State secured a murder prosecution in the case. He was then selected to take over as regional inspector and was transferred into Kilkenny in 2005 where he acted as regional inspector for Assistant Commissioners Noel Smyth, Mick McCarthy and Martin Donnellan before being promoted to the rank of Superintendent of Kanturk Garda Station in 2007.
The Carlow man returned to the Southeast in 2008 and was the regional traffic superintendent before taking up the position of superintendent-in-charge in Kilkenny in 2009. During his impressive career he has taken up numerous challenging roles and was a member of the Southeast Regional Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and was the chairman of the Regional Working Group for Major Emergency Management in the Southeast and was also a member of the national working group. He also completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management through the garda college in 2006.
“The gardai have undergone hugely significant change since I joined in 1982 with the introduction of the training programme under the Walsh report, the development of the garda college and it’s establishment as a third level institution. The introduction of the Pulse system and the Criminal Justice Act 1984 which brought in the treatment of persons in custody regulations also dictated significant change and it was hugely important as it created more transparency and accountability in the system.
“One of the most significant challenges presented to gardai is the challenge of providing a service to a significant number of people who do not want to avail of the service. Societal change has seen a far more sophisticated culture in Ireland over my tenure in the police. There has been a huge influx of other nationalities and that has impacted on the service required to be delivered to a far more diverse culture. Respect and empathy should underpin any decision as well as the fundamental principles of human rights which are legality, necessity, proportionality, accountability and being non discriminatory
“Community support is very important to morale during the transitional era that policing is experiencing and I hope that remains positive and the focus of both the community and the Gardai,” he said.
The fifty-year-old who lives in Waterford and is married to Evelyn with whom he has two grown up children is looking forward to his well-deserved retirement. “I am looking forward to having more free time, to simple things like walking the dog but I will also remain very active in my community and will sit on the Waterford Regional Youth Service Board and the Citizens Information Board and I hope to continue on with my education and do some more courses,” he said adding that Kilkenny will always be special to him, having met his wife and seeing his son born in the Marble City.
“There are many people I would like to thank for their influence in my career and others for their support to policing in Kilkenny during my tenure as District Officer and I will get around to them in time.
“There have been some very significant and complex investigations in Kilkenny over the years and there are a number on going. While cautious about platitudes I can say with confidence that the District Gardai in Kilkenny are a very committed bunch of people who are doing a difficult job, very well and I want to thanks them for their support to policing during my time as District Officer,” he said adding that he also wanted to thank the local media for their responsible reporting in the public interest.