The first organised police force in Ireland came about through the Peace Preservation Act of 1814 but the Irish Constabulary Act of 1822 marked the true beginning of the Irish Constabulary. John Wills, one of the first officers of the Peace Preservation Force a veteran of the Dublin Police, 1797-1812. Born in 1788, of Esker Lodge, Lucan, Co. Dublin, Wills was one of three of the first government appointed magistrates and in February 1819 he took charge of the proclaimed parishes of Killyon, Killyconnigan and Clonard in the baronies of Lune and Moyfenrath, Co. Meath where he served until November.
There was no Police Barracks recorded in Killyon in 1837 or 1852 and it is possible that the first barracks was constructed on lands belong to the Killyon estate in order to protect the Big House during the period of disturbances of the 1870s Land War. Reports of police at Killyon appear in newspapers from as early as 1875. The barracks was constructed at Boraheen, at the junction of the Kinnegad and Killucan roads. A two storey cut stone building the Barracks had living quarters upstairs and downstairs a day room, a prison cell and a kitchen. At the rear was a large enclosed courtyard. Killyon was in the police district of Athboy.
In 1911 there were four policemen living in Killyon barracks, aged from 24 to 44 and all were farmers’ sons and came from Cavan, Sligo, Longford and Mayo.
Sergeant John Young (RIC No: 58036) a native of County Cavan born in 1872 joined the Royal Irish Constabulary on the 16th November 1896. He was killed at the Rath crossroads, Ashbourne, on the 28th of April 1916. He had been stationed in Killyon RIC Barracks in County Meath for six years and it was while stationed at Killyon that he was promoted from acting to full Sergeant in October 1913. Prior to that John Young had served in various barracks and posts in Counties Down and Armagh as well as in Belfast city before being reassigned to Meath in 1908. He lived in Killyon with his wife Katherine a Donegal woman and their two children Patrick born in 1913 and Mary born in 1915. On Thursday the 27th of April 1916 he received orders together with Sergeant Martin Coyle (RIC No: 57045) and Constable Martin Gara of Killyon Barracks to report to County Inspector Alexander Gray in Slane and reinforce the contingent under his command.
On the morning of Friday the 28th Young was assigned to the motorised unit assembled by Gray to intercept a rebel force of unknown size reported to be in the vicinity of Ashbourne. Armed with an RIC Enfield Carbine and his Webley service revolver as well as his handcuffs and truncheon and carrying a 50 round bandolier, Sergeant Young boarded a touring car provided by the local gentry and sat with his carbine and helmet on his lap as he was driven towards Ashbourne. Arriving at the Rath crossroads he exited the car and took cover and as a result survived the initial engagement but during the remainder of the battle he was injured several times by buckshot. He fought on into the latter part of the action until he was hit by rifle fire as he attempted to take cover in the labourer’s cottage above the crossroads. After the surrender he was given the last rights by Ft Murphy, John Young was 42 years old when he died and was survived by his widow and their two young children. The Inspector- General of the RIC sent a message of sympathy to his wife on the death of her “gallant husband while bravely performing his duty in pursuing the rebels.”
The family were awarded his pension in July 1916 backdated to the 29th April. He was buried with full Police honours in St Marys Cemetery, Navan together with RIC Constables: James Hickey, James Gormley, and Richard McHale who also died with him at the Battle of Ashbourne.
From the autumn of 1919 onwards, the RIC was forced to abandon its smaller barracks in isolated areas. On Easter Sunday night, 3 April 1920, Killyon barracks was burned by the IRA after it had been evacuated by RIC.