Peig Brown (nee Tierney) was born in Oughterard, Co. Galway. She was the third eldest of five children having two brothers and two sisters. Peig completed her primary and secondary education in Oughterard.
She decided to join An Garda Síochána who was recruiting females for the first time. In July 1959 Peig was one of the original in-take of ‘Ban Gardaí’. Following training at the Phoenix Park Depot her first station was Pearse Street, Dublin where she served from 1960 to 1962.
At Pearse Street Peig was the first ‘Ban Sergeant’ to be promoted. She was transferred to Edward Street, Limerick in October 1962. Here she created a piece of local Garda history, as along with four other female members she was the first ‘Ban Garda’ to come to Limerick.
Their arrival aroused considerable interest and curiosity. Their every move was keenly observed by the locals as they went about their duties. They were all very well received. Elsewhere in this issue is a photograph of the group reporting for the first time at Edward Street Station.
The locals were not the only ones to have them under close observation. They also attracted significant attention of their male colleagues. In Peig’s case it was the attentions of Barraduff, County Kerry native Sergeant Michael Brown who was stationed at William Street.
However, the very controversial and manifestly unjust ‘Marriage Ban’ cut short a very promising career as was the case with all female members who were forced to choose between marriage and a career in An Garda Síochána. Choosing marriage Peig resigned on 31 August 1965 and married Michael the next day. They had three children – Liam, Sean and Michael.
Limerick City did not forget the arrival of the first female members and the very significant contribution they made to city policing. On the 50th anniversary of their arrival all five were honoured with a Civic Reception hosted by the Mayor, organised in conjunction with current and former members of An Garda Síochána.
Peig sadly passed away on the 25 November 2016 after a short illness surrounded by her family and in the loving care of the staff of Milford Hospice.
The family would like to acknowledge with gratitude the wonderful care afforded to Peig while a patient at Milford Hospice, the Galway Clinic, Limerick University Hospital, the Mid-West Cancer Centre and the outpouring of sympathy by neighbours and friends alike.
Thanks also to the serving and retired members of An Garda Síochána who sympathised and provided a Guard of Honour at her funeral. All was a source of great support and consolation.