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Thursday 21 August 2014

Plenty of 'Arresting Tales' in former garda's memoirs

Alison Comyn

Published 11/12/2013 | 05:28

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Michael Bohan’s 45 years as a member of An Garda Siochana have provided him with a wealth of engaging stories for his book, ‘Arresting Tales’.

SCARLET WOMEN in dustcarts, blackmailing in a graveyard and Uncle Joe's chops!

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SCARLET WOMEN in dustcarts, blackmailing in a graveyard and Uncle Joe's chops!

Just some of the glorious wealth of funny and charming stories in 'Arresting Tales', the first book by retired local Chief Superintendent Michael Bohan, to be launched this Saturday night at 7.30 p.m. in the Millmount Museum.

During an illustrious career in the gardaí spanning almost 45 years, Forest Hill man Michael encountered hundreds of ne'r do wells, scoundrels, characters and 'skunkers', and within the pages, he spins an enthralling yarn about each one.

'My father used to say I was vaccinated with a gramaphone needle I talked that much,' said the sprightly 88-year-old, with a twinkle in his eye.

'I suppose I have been blessed with a photographic memory of sorts, but people needn't worry, I won't get anyone into trouble in the book!'

Michael was born in 1925 in Leitrim, the son of a farmer, but the exact date of his birth was a matter of much conjecture!

'I found out over the years, I have four birthdays,' he said with a cheeky smile.

'The first one I knew of was March 18, then I saw my birth certificate said June 28, when I clapped eyes on my baptismal certificate, I was one day older with March 17, and at a Gathering event this year, a Church register read April 27. The Queen only has two birthdays, I have four!'

An ad for garda recruits in his local paper in 1943 changed the course of his life and, within a short time, this 'dutiful bucko' became the youngest sergeant in Ireland.

'I have fond memories of every place I was stationed and the many people I encountered, whether on my side, or the other side of the law,' he said.

'From the Coome, with all its characters in the Liberties, to Cork, Carlow and then Drogheda in 1966, I learned as many lessons off those I arrested, as those I worked with.'

Listening to Michael tell his tales is mesmerising, transporting you to a time long ago, in a country very different to now.

He decided to write his memoirs before he forgets them all, using writer Nicola Pierce to record and document them on his behalf.

'I met my beautiful wife Nancy (Roantree) in her family dairy in Dublin, when all the windows had been broken so, whoever did that, I owe a debt of gratitude,' he said with a warm smile.

'We were married for 50 wonderful years, and had five children, John, Anne, Gretta, Michael and Breda, and sadly she passed away in 2001.'

Rising to the ranks of Chief Superintendent and assistant Commissioner, Michael worked on several high profile cases, including five murders.

'I think maybe I could have gone higher, but I was tired of all the commuting, and I retired on July 7 1987, but I would do it all over again,' he said.

'I hope people enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed telling the stories, and it would be great to see a crowd of people at the launch, and come and read for yourselves.'

'Arresting Tales', will be launched in the Millmount Museum on Saturday, December 14, at 7.30 p.m. by crime correspondent Paul Reynolds, son of Michael's former colleague John Willie Reynolds. All are welcome to attend, and the book, priced €12.99, will be for sale on the night.

Drogheda Independent

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