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On the 22nd of August 1922 the Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D.) was formed, it was separate from any of the existing police forces and under the control of the Minister for Home Affairs. Members for the new force were drawn from the Army and Republican Police and were based in Oriel House, Westland Row, Dublin. The force consisted of over one hundred men and three women, the women were officially employed as secretaries but were in fact employed to deal with women engaged in hostilities against the State.

On Saturday the 16th of September 1922 Anthony Dean, a civilian attached to the Criminal Investigations Department at Oriel House was shot dead when two armed men enter Oriel House on the pretence of reporting a stolen car. When the two men had gained entry they opened fire with two Webley revolvers. Dean was hit once and died instantly from his wounds. Dean was unmarried and was 27 years old.


On the night of Monday the 13th of October 1922 Civic Guard Henry Phelan 1347 stationed at Callan was shot dead in Mollinahone County Tipperary. Phelan, with two other Civic Guards, had cycled to Mollinahone to buy a Hurley ball, they stopped off at Miss Mulhallís Public House for some refreshments. Soon after the three Civic Guards had entered the Public House when a group of armed men entered shouting ĎHands Upí as the armed men were shouting ĎHand Upí a shot was fired and Phelan fell mortally wounded, the bullet entered the lower part of his left jaw and exited through the back of his neck his spinal cord being severed. Unknown to Phelan and the other tow Civic Guards the Public House was a well know anti-treaty establishment, Miss Mulhallís son was a member of Na Fianna. Phelan was a native of Mountrath where he was buried.

On Friday the 19th of October 1923 C.I.D. Driver was shot dead during an armed raid on Ashtown Candle Factory, Castleknock. Three soldiers of the National Army held up staff at the factory and stole £40. One of the soldiers, William Downes, was executed in Mountjoy and another was shot dead while fleeing from pursuing police.

Oriel House C.I.D. Badge
This badge was allegedly issued to detectives serving with Oriel House. I say allegedly because there are several stories about the issue of the badge and at least two different designs which make me unsure. 150 of the badges were ordered from OíCallaghanís of Dame Street who were the supplied the Free State Army. OíCallaghanís gave the order to the Irish Jewellery Company of Kevin Street. During the manufacture of the badges the Anti-Treaty side heard that they were being made and broke into Irish Jewellery Company and stole them. They were allegedly used by the Anti-Treaty side to impersonate Oriel House detectives. The story sort of divides here, one version says the because of the security breach no more badges were made, the other version says more badges of a different design were made.

Both badges are similar in design. An O on top of an H for Oriel House topped with a half sunburst with s e for SaorstŠt …ireann, on one design the background enamelling on the half sunburst is orange and a more yellow shade on the other. The letters on one design are picked out in green enamelling whereas the other design there is no enamelling. Both design are numbered in the cross-bar of the H, I have obscured the numbers on these two badges because they were sold in Dublin, one about 2 years ago and the other about 11 years ago, as the sellers were kind enough to allow me to take photos of them I do not want to indicate if one or both are genuine or fake because I do not know. The badges sometimes come in a flip-up, rather decorative, leather wallet. The wallet will have a metal number attached to the front, this number should match the number on the badge.

I have seen several mentions of the theft of these badges on the internet which give a reference to an Irish Department of Justice file. I have checked with the Irish Department of Justice and they tell me the reference number given is not the type of referencing system they use but if anyone has a copy of this file I would really appreciate a copy.