Badges, buckles, belts & braces

Dani Masterson investigates some of the garda paraphernalia worn down through the years

An Garda Síochána Badge
The Garda Síochána badge is based on the form of the cross with the letters G and S interlaced in the centre. Initially designed by John Francis Maxwell (1880-1948), the Garda Síochána badge was completed in 1966 by the sculptor, Michael Biggs. Biggs achieved Maxwell’s conception in a limestone coin set in granite with fully rounded bosses and a redesigned monogram in the centre. The first use of the badge was printed in 1923, in the banner of Iris an Gharda official magazine.

The first issued garda cap badge was produced in 1922. The medal is engraved with the word ‘SIOTCÁNA’ (‘SAIOCÁNA’ an older Gaelic spelling, which included a ‘T’) on dark silver metal. This medal was used up to about 1940.The next garda cap badge was engraved with ‘SAIOCÁNA’, spelt without the ‘T’. This was a lighter silver, with almost a yellow tint. This medal was used from 1940 to 1960. In 1960, this badge was then issued in chrome metal, giving it a shinier look. This badge was used for about 30 years up until a gold coloured badge was released. During the mid-90s, light and dark blue colours were added.

Garda Helmet Badges
This 7cm garda helmet badge was worn on the four and six panel helmets. In 1925, the Dublin Metropolitan Police joined the garda force and they also began wearing this badge on their four panel helmets. There was also a version of this badge in a darker silver worn at night; it is blackened to reduce visibility of the badge. This badge also featured the spelling ‘SIOTCÁNA’. In the 1940s the ‘T’ was dropped.

Inspector’s Cuff Rank badges
The Inspector’s Cuff Rank badge measures 72mm by 68mm. The first issued with silver bullion were in the 1940s, followed by coloured thread.

An Garda Síochána Overseas Service Badge
Members of An Garda Síochána who served overseas at the United Nations wore these service badges. In 1989, 50 members of An Garda Síochána took part in the first mission in Nambia. This was worn on an armband with the Irish Defence Forces overseas mission’s Irish tricolour badge. These badges were changed slightly depending on each mission.

Garda 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising Commemoration Medal
The Garda 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising Commemoration Medal was awarded to all gardaí that participated in the 100th anniversary commemorations of the 1916 rising in 2016. The medal features an image of the GPO with an inscription ‘An Garda Síochána’ below. The back is inscribed with ‘Eire Ireland 1916’.

The Scott Medal
The Walter Scott Medal for Valor is a medal awarded for acts of bravery by An Garda Síochána. In 1923 Colonel Walter Scott, a New York City philanthropist and an Honorary Commissioner of the New York City Police, awarded An Garda Síochána with a one thousand dollar gold Bond which would pay for the Scott Medal. This was awarded under the following condition: No action, however heroic, will merit the award of the Scott Medal unless it takes the shape of an act of personal bravery, performed intelligently in the execution of duty at imminent risk to the life of the doer, and armed with full previous knowledge of the risk involved. However, in 1942, the award condition was revised to the most exceptional bravery and heroism involving the risk of life in the execution of duty. The medal is engraved ‘The Scott Medal’ and on the lower panel with ‘For Valor’.

View all images and further details on
The information contained on the above site is drawn from various locations including Newspaper Archives, Period Publications, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Ireland’s Memorial Record, The Irish Military Archive, the UK National Archive, various rolls compiled over the years of veterans of the 1916 Rising and other conflicts, cemetery records and information submitted by visitors.


For full and in-depth coverage, see the current printed edition of Garda Review.

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