An Garda Siochana is the national police force of Ireland. The name comes from the gaelic language and means Gaurdians of the Peace. They are commonly refered to as the Garda and are plurally known as the Gardai. There are approx. 11,000 members serving a population of approx. 3 million people.
On the foundation of the force in 1922, the commisioner, Michael Stains stated that the Garda Siochana will succeed not by force of arms or numbers, but on their moral autority as servents of the people. This was in the context of taking over the role of policing from a quasi military police force called the Royal Irish Constabulary, which had policed on behalf of the English Empire, and from which, Ireland had just won independence after a brutal war. To this day the vast majority of the Police force are unarmed.