Virtual Book Launch – A Question of Honour by John O’Brien

January 19, 2021 0

In case you missed it:  Balbriggan man John O’Brien has released his book ‘A Question of Honour’.  The book is described as an insider’s view of the political decisions that shaped policing in Ireland from 1968 to the present. So if you are looking for something to read during the lockdown get your copy today!

22-Feb-21: Tune in into Newstalk on Tuesday 23rd February to hear Balbriggan Author John O’Brien discuss his book

12-Jan-20: A Question of Honour is a unique account of 50 years of Policing and Politics in Ireland. Hard-hitting and factual, a memoir and history combined, narrated with a human touch.  The book is described as an insider’s view of the political decisions that shaped policing in Ireland from 1968 to the present. Originally planned as a “straightforward” memoir, as it unfolded the political perspective dominated.

A Question of Honour Politics and Policing book coverWritten by Balbriggan man John O’Brien, who researched the book for over ten years. John joined the Garda Síochána in 1968 and served until 2006. He had a varied and satisfying career which involved uniform policing and specialist roles. He acquired considerable international experience. He progressed through the ranks retiring as a Detective Chief Superintendent.

The narrative covers a period from 1970 to 2020 and discusses key events.  John says he was amazed at the degree with which Political Decisions influenced the shape of policing in this country.

Events including the Arms Crisis 1970, the firing of Commissioners in different decades, the “Reform Decisions” the Smithwick Tribunal 2005 – 2013, Risk Avoidance by key Ministers, demonstrable naivety regarding Intelligence Agencies, State Security and much more.

The book is highly recommended and is available
from or 01 2548442

Dublin Bombings 1974

The seminal work on collusion by the British security forces with Loyalists is contained in the research work of Ann Cadwallader, Lethal Allies. This work is well researched and detailed. It has been repeatedly alleged that senior UVF figures like Robin Jackson were being run by RUC Special Branch and by British Military Units and enjoyed protected status as a result. They could not have committed the bombings unaided…

Road Deaths

Riding my motorcycle near Dublin Airport one afternoon, I got a radio message. “Traffic Accident on the back road near the Boot Inn pub – Check it out”. I was the first garda on the scene. I dismounted a short distance back from the accident point, but I could see that this was a serious situation. A man approached me and said, “I’m glad you’re here, the people in the car are dead”. I approached with a lot of trepidation and indeed three women were dead in one car, a frozen tableau. Stunning in its visual impact, life turned into eternity in the blink of an eye…


The gunman fired and shouted or shouted and fired, my comrade who was ahead of me dived down and I followed taking a big mouthful of bog…

The Chinese are coming

The preliminaries led to the security meeting at HQ in the Officers Club. Present were the Ambassador, the Military Attaché from London and a range of support staff. Interestingly the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) General appeared to take precedence over the Ambassador…


Former Detective Chief Superintendent John O’Brien has not merely given us simply another police memoir. He has also provided a unique insider’s view of the complex relationship between policing and politics in times of challenge. Then, as a valuable bonus, he has set down an important narrative of the security mission, from a southern perspective, along the Irish border during the Troubles.
Conor Brady – Author