This is a bad photo of the medal that one of my sons, Jimmy mentioned in the Chatterbox (below right). It was awarded to my Father, Michael Leonard (known to family and friends as Mick) for his service with the ARP from 1939 at the outbreak of WWII until 1946. My Dad would have been very proud to see his medal being worn by one of his Grandsons in New York on the St Patrick's Day Parade.
The front of the medal depicts Eire holding a sword pointed downwards and an Irish wolfhound on a leash. The symbolism there is obvious. The words around the edge of the medal are Ré na Práinne, which in English is literally Emergency Period. The bar across the top says National Service in Irish and the two bars across the ribbon show that he served for the entire period of the war. He was one of the first rescuers to arrive at the scene of the North Strand bombing at 1.30am on May 30th 1941.