Garda Commissioner urges TD to pass-on concerns to GSOC

Garda Commissioner at Podium2

Garda Commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan, has urged an Independent TD to contact GSOC with any concerns she may have about Garda malpractice. The call comes following a claim by Deputy Claire Daly that a member of An Garda Síochána witnessed a senior colleague shooting dead a member of the public, and was then instructed to cover it up. She made these claims during Leaders Questions in the Dáil two weeks ago.

Speaking to reporters at the Garda Representative Association (GRA) annual conference in Co. Carlow, Noirin O’ Sullivan said she is aware of the allegations but not the specifics.”I’m not aware of the specifics around the allegations so I think we would need to have more specifics before we could even come to the conclusion that it is an allegation of murder.

“But I do think if anybody wants to come forward and bring those allegations forward we will certainly investigate them, but I think with a matter of such seriousness, it would be appropriate that it be brought to the Garda Ombudsman Commission,” she said.

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This comes as Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald announced €700,000 in funding for new specialised vehicles to support an enhanced operational response by Gardaí to current and emerging crime threats. “I am acutely aware of the consequences for you of the economic situation in the country and I’m also aware that resourcing was severely cut as a result of the economic meltdown. As we have seen in the area of policing, we have been able to invest significantly for the first time in years, in Garda recruitment, in Garda vehicles, in Garda buildings; and in new ICT infrastructure and systems. But if we wish to continue that investment then we must continue to ensure economic stability and we must continue to work to protect the recovery,” she said.

Limerick launches new Major Emergency Co-Ordination Unit

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Emergency Services in Limerick are to benefit from a new mobile co-ordination unit for dealing with major emergencies and incidents in the Limerick region. Limerick City and County Council launched the new unit today under the Major Emergency Management Programme.  The unit will act as a command and control centre on-site as part of the Local Authority’s response to major incidents along with facilitating meetings with the other principal response agencies in the region such as An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive.

By Declan Keogh
Limerick’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Niall Murray oversaw the fitting out of the vehicle. He said it had been designed to be functional and for personnel to respond to incidents irrespective of location. “Decision making and communication is vital to an effective response to a major incident. The new co-ordination vehicle allows us access an electronic information management system which is used to identify key issues and capture the evolving events of a major incident.  This allows information to be automatically recorded and communicated to all relevant personnel and agencies and will greatly assist us particularly during evaluation in post event reviews”.

The new unit can be powered either by a generator or directly to an electricity supply. The vehicle is equipped with laptops, printer and internet access using WIFI, TV, UHF radios and satellite phone. Work is currently underway in conjunction with the Council’s ICT Department to set up a teleconference facility in the vehicle which will allow a live teleconference back to the crisis management team and local co-ordination centre located within the local authority’s headquarters.

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The Mayor of Limerick, Councillor Kevin Sheahan said “I’m delighted to launch this new vehicle which will be a huge asset to our staff dealing with major incidents such as flooding, severe weather incidents, road traffic events or other major emergencies,” he said. “It means that all the main principal response agencies can gather in one location to capture the evolving events of a major incident and jointly respond while having the most up to date technological information to hand”.

The vehicle is expected to be ready for use by early May, when crucial personnel from Limerick City and County Council are fully trained to operate the unit.
Top Photo: Garda Inspector Paul Reidy, Henry Street Garda Station, Niall Murray, Ass. Chief Fire Officer, Limerick, Michael Ryan, Chief Fire Officer, Limerick. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.

Bottom Photo: Michael Ryan, Chief Fire Officer, Mayor of Limerick Cllr. Kevin Sheahan, and Garda Inspector Paul Reidy, Henry Street Garda Station. Picture: Alan Place/FusionShooters.

Firefighters suspend their ballot on Industrial action

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The proposed strike action by Fulltime and retained fire-fighters across Ireland has been suspended. It comes after representatives of SIPTU met with the Minister for Local Government Alan Kelly to discuss their concerns over the implementation of the ‘Keeping Communities Safer’ plan. The directive would see attending crews reduced by one firefighter which the department insisted changing the crew number would keep Ireland in line with international norms, however, union members of the service say it will reduce the number of officers that are deployed on tenders to deal with fires.

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Photo: Courtesy Declan Keogh

Retained firefighters, which make up about two-thrds of the national numbers balloted in January last for industrial action.  SIPTU sector organiser Brendan O’Brien said “The Minister has tabled a proposal which includes the suspension to proceed with any reduction in crewing levels and in the meantime a new process will commence. Our National full-time committee met yesterday and it was decided that the appropriated thing to do in response to the minister’s offer which was accepted by our members was to implement a suspension of a ballot for industrial action of full-time fire-fighters with immediate effect”.

Ninety Nine new Gardai on the beat

Ninety Nine student Gardai were attested today during their passing out ceremony at the Garda College in Templemore, Co. Tipperary. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D. and the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan both welcomed the 81 male and 18 female Gardai into the force. During the ceremony, two special medals were awarded to two student gardai. The Commissioners Medal and the Gary Sheehan Memorial medal.

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The Commissioner’s Medal is awarded to the student achieving the highest aggregate marks in academic subjects on the completion of Phase I of the BA (Applied Policing) programme. The winner will have excelled in studies in the subject areas of Foundations of Policing, Policing with Communities, Crime and Incident Policing, Traffic Policing, Station Roles and Responsibilities, Professional Competence and Officer and Public Safety.

The Commissioner’s Medal is awarded to: Garda Angela Gavin.

Garda Gavin is a native of Dublin. Prior to joining An Garda Síochána she worked in anti-money laundering in the Financial Sector. She has a BA European Business & and Languages – National College of Ireland and a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies. She also has an Advanced Diploma in Corporate, White Collar & Regulatory Crime – Kings Inns and a Professional Cert in Financial Prevention – University College Dublin.
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In addition to her academic ability Garda Gavin has involved herself in many aspect of student life including the International Police Association, having a role as a class representative and raising funds for Temple Street Hospital. She is highly respected by her colleagues and Garda College Staff and is known to have spent much of her spare time to assist others in their studies and interact with vulnerable people in society. She has been complemented widely by the Foundation Training Section for her contribution in class and was a constant positive example to her peers. Garda Gavin will be stationed at Drogheda Garda Station.

The Gary Sheehan Memorial Medal commemorates Recruit Garda Gary Sheehan who died on duty at Ballinamore, Co Leitrim on the 16th December 1983 and is awarded to the best all-round student. The recipient will have contributed significantly to life at the Garda College and distinguished himself/herself in the academic field. Additionally, the winner will have, by the initiative shown, and leadership qualities so obviously displayed during the training period, won the respect of his/her peers

The Gary Sheehan Memorial Medal is awarded to: Garda Eoin O Malley.

Garda Eoin O Malley is from Carraroe, Co Galway. Prior to joining An Garda Síochána he worked in retail in both the automotive and medical industries. During his Garda training, Garda O Malley has contributed significantly to Garda College life through his interaction and support for his colleagues. Garda O Malley is highly respected by both staff and students alike and is acknowledged for his courteous, mature and measured approach to any situation throughout Phase I of the programme. He has shown strong resolve and actively supported his fellow colleagues during difficult times. He has been recognised for his excellent leadership qualities and as a role model within the student cohort.
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Despite his demanding study schedule he found time to be involved in the Garda College football teams who were successful in winning the Trench Cup, he was considered as both a team member and mentor and was highly respected for the exemplary behavior that he demonstrated both on and off the field. In training he has shown a high level of professional knowledge and proven ability to deal with a variety of policing tasks. Garda O Malley will be stationed at Castlebar Garda Station.

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Photos: Courtesy Declan Keogh and Garda Press Office.

Coast Guard recovers body of missing fisherman

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The Irish Coast Guard have recovered the body of a fisherman who went missing in Clare bay when he and three friends got into difficulty and became cut off by the incoming tide.

By Brian Cleary
Three men managed to take shelter from the rising tide on a tractor they were using to collect shellfish. They were then rescued by a local boat. The group had been fishing for oysters at Poulnasherry Bay between Kilkee and Kilrush.

It’s understood that the man’s body was found 200 metres from where he was fishing. His body has been removed to University Hospital Limerick for a post-mortem.

It’s believed that the missing man tried to swim to shore. Units from Kilkee, Ballybunion, Doolin and Kilrush coast guard were involved in the search and rescue operation, along with a helicopter team from nearby Shannon.

Four Firefighters injured in fire truck crash

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FOUR FIREFIGHTERS from Atlanta Fire Department were injured when the fire truck they were travelling in crashed when it struck a car and a tree while responding to an emergency call. The driver narrowly escaped a bus. The crash happened on Jonesboro Road at McWilliam Road in southeast Atlanta at about 9:30 am local time.

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Atlanta Fire & Rescue department confirmed on its Twitter page that four fire-fighters were taken to Grady hospital for treatment.

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It is understood one fire-fighter became trapped, however there are no life threatening injuries.

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Eye witnesses Thonasha Harris told Channel 2 News that a bus and several cars stopped on the road. When the fire truck came around the corner, the driver jerked the wheel to avoid the bus and hit a tree. “They were trying to free the driver, trying to get him out. He was stuck up in there; they were trying to get him out. But they got them all out. To see them pulling and cutting to get him out, it seemed like he was alive. I hope he’s alive,”

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Pics: ScreenGrab: WSB-TV Atlanta

Greater Manchester Police boogie for charity

Greater Manchester Police has teamed up with the Forever Manchester to help raise awareness about the local charity and the need to support local voluntary groups. Officers and police staff from across the Force joined Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy to recreate the recent Cadbury advert featuring the hit song by Baccara, ‘I Can Boogie.’

A previous spoof video based on Gangnam Style has had nearly 63,500 hits on YouTube and raised the profile of Super Josh (The Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity) which helps children with brain tumours.

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In this latest video the Chief can be seen singing and dancing along to the tune being played by a call centre while waiting for his call to be answered. He is later joined by colleagues who take to their seats in unison to the 70’s disco beats.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said: “Forever Manchester is a fantastic local charity which has supported over 20,000 local community projects with grants to help volunteers. So often we see that the best solutions to problems come from local people putting in voluntary effort in their own local areas. This is a great way to deal with issues such as antisocial behaviour, repeat offending, loneliness and isolation. This tongue in cheek video is just one way of raising the profile of this worthwhile charity and it’s nice to show everyone that we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously. Supporting the community is just one part of our role as protectors of Greater Manchester.”

Nick Massey DL, Chief Executive for Forever Manchester, said: “We’re happy that the force is with us.”

Forever Manchester is responsible for delivering national funding programmes to community groups across Greater Manchester. They include; Comic Relief, Sport Relief and the People’s Health Trust. They also manage local funding streams within the borough.

Greater Manchester Police is raising money for Forever Manchester. The charity supports grassroots community projects across the borough. You can boogie too if you make a donation at www.forevermanchester.com/boogie.

Garda praised for ‘caring’ intervention in riverside Suicide attempt

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“She just sat me down and she spoke to me. Not as a guard, but as a counsellor or a therapist. She got me out of the frame of mind I was in. It was scary. I was ten seconds away from just jumping in”. They were the words of a man who only identified himself as ‘Daniel’ when he spoke to Corks 96fm on Friday morning last about his intention to end his life and the intervention of a Blackrock garda who saved him from doing so.

The man, believed to be a grandfather told PJ Coogan and Deirdre O’Shaughnessy on the radio stations ‘Opinion Line’ programme about how a garda saved his life by her caring intervention. “I was in a very dark spot. I wasn’t feeling good, and I decided to walk down to the pier head and end my life. She just sat me down and she spoke to me. Not as a guard, but as a counsellor or a therapist … she got me out of the frame of mind I was in.” Daniel said.

Garda Karen Ring was on routine patrol with her colleague Garda Seán Murphy when they noticed a man close to the River Lee. Garda Ring, told the ‘Irish Examiner’; “My first thought was that he was going into the river, I called him but he just kept walking down to the slipway. I went after him and realised he was in a distressed state.”

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Pic: Garda Karen Ring, Blackrock Garda Station

After speaking with the man for almost half an hour, Garda Ring asked him if he would see a doctor, to which he agreed to. The Gardai drove the distressed man to the Bridewell Garda Station where a doctor was waiting for him. The two gardaí waited until the doctor gave them a referral letter to Cork University Hospital before driving him there and made sure he was admitted for treatment.

Daniel recalled “It was scary. I was ten seconds away from just jumping in. I’m glad I didn’t, but at the time that was my frame of mind, and that’s what I was going to do” he said. He said the garda talked to him about his thoughts and feelings, until he “snapped out” of his frame of mind.

He praised the approach of Garda Ring and the commitment she had to ensuring he was taken care of, taking him to hospital and staying with him until he was there and providing her private phone number in case he needed her again. “I’m here this morning, and I’d just like to thank her,” he said. “I’m far from being better, but that’s for another day,” he said.

Cropped Garda Chief Supt Michael FinnChief Superintendent Michael Finn praised Garda Ring’s actions. “Our motto in the Garda Síochána is to protect life. I’m very glad that a member of the force was perceived by this person to be so caring and supportive and went out of her way to ensure he was able to keep in touch with her if he wanted,” he said.

*Source: Irish Examiner

RNLI Lough Swilly welcome first Shannon class Lifeboat

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Huge crowds turned out in Buncrana, Co. Donegal on Friday last to welcome the RNLI’s newest edition to the Donegal coastline. A Lifeboat crew from Lough Swilly arrived into Buncrana at 12 noon onboard the new Shannon class lifeboat. At a cost of €2.4m, the new lifeboat is the first of its class to be put on service in Ireland and the first to be named after an Irish river in the RNLI’s 191 year history. This is in recognition of the service and dedication of Irish lifeboat crews. All previous classes are named after rivers in the United Kingdom.

The new lifeboat left RNLI Headquarters in Poole on Wednesday 1 April with a full crew and over the course of a ten day passage visited lifeboat stations at Newlyn, Aberystwyth, Douglas, Oban, Tobermory and Bangor before finally pulling in to its flanking station in Portrush, county Antrim from where it left in the early hours of Friday morning on the final leg to Buncrana. At 12 noon the lifeboat was escorted into Lough Swilly by a flotilla of boats to an emotional homecoming. The lifeboat is named Derek Bullivant and has been largely funded through a legacy from Mr Derek Jim Bullivant of Bewdley, Worcestershire in the UK, who passed away in September 2011.

RNLI Lough Swilly Incoming

Photo:Courtesy RNLI/Clive Wasson
The Shannon is the latest class of all-weather lifeboat to join the RNLI fleet and the first to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making it the most agile and maneuverable all-weather lifeboat in the fleet. Waterjets allow the vessel to operate in shallow waters and be intentionally beached. The lifeboat has a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 250 nautical miles, which makes it ideal for offshore searches and rescues in calm and rough seas.

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Photo: Courtesy RNLI/Clive Wasson
The new lifeboat was developed to operate in the worst of sea conditions and is self-righting, automatically turning the right side up in the event of a capsize. Its unique hull is designed to minimise slamming of the boat in heavy seas and the shock-absorbing seats further protect the crew from impact when powering through the waves. The Shannon lifeboat also has another strong Irish connection. Peter Eyre, an RNLI Engineer from Derry who works at the charity’s headquarters in Poole, was instrumental in the development of the new lifeboat, designing that unique hull form at the age of 24. Peter was present in Buncrana when the new lifeboat arrived into the harbour. He had a brush with the charity in 1998 when Lough Swilly Lifeboat came to his aid.

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Pic: Ronan Mahon gives the Thumbs Up for the new arrival. (Photo: RNLI/Clive Wasson) 
Peter Eyre has had a link with the RNLI for many years. He said “I was just 14 years old when my family’s 30ft cruiser racer yacht was dismasted in rough seas and force 7 winds. The yacht lost its mast and was escorted back to shore by the volunteer lifeboat crew. I wish the Lough Swilly crew the best of luck with their new Lifeboat. I can tell how much this boat means to them. It is clear they will take great care of her and put her to good use as they bravely respond to people in distress. Knowing that I have designed a Lifeboat that will keep the crew safe when they launch into challenging conditions in their quest to save lives at sea makes me incredibly proud” he said. The new lifeboat will replace the station’s current all-weather Tyne class lifeboat Robert & Violet and will be the first all weather lifeboat that has been specially commissioned for the lifeboat station, the previous two have come from the RNLI’s relief fleet.

RNLI Lough Swilly Officers on Shannon

Photo: Courtesy RNLI/Clive Wasson
The volunteer lifeboat crew will be busy training around the clock on the new lifeboat and when they are assessed as fully trained on it the new lifeboat will then officially be put on service. It will replace the Mersey and Tyne class lifeboats, which are now nearing the end of their operational lives. Once rolled out, the entire all-weather lifeboat fleet will be capable of 25 knots, making the lifesaving service more efficient and effective than ever before. Speaking of the Buncrana Shannon homecoming event, Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John McCarter said “This is an historic day for Lough Swilly lifeboat station. We were established as an inshore lifeboat station in 1988 and in 2000 received our first all weather lifeboat. This Shannon class lifeboat will be here for years to come and will come to the aid of many people over its lifetime. May our lifeboat crews always come home safe on her and may she bring many people home to their loved ones.”

RNLI Lough Swilly Group 3 Uniforms

Photo: Courtesy RNLI/Clive Wasson
Lough Swilly RNLI Coxswain Mark Barnett added, “It is a very emotional day for everyone connected with the RNLI in Lough Swilly. So many people have made this possible and we are grateful for the continued support we receive and the great welcome from all the lifeboat stations we visited on our passage home. I would also like to acknowledge the incredible gift that the late Derek Bullivant has made to the RNLI, which allowed the purchase of this state of the art lifeboat and which will proudly bear his name.” Lough Swilly’s lifeboats have launched over 700 times and saved 47 lives, as well as bringing 517 others safely home, since its establishment in 1988.

TD and Firefighters ‘bemused’ over removal of equipment from fire stations

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Fire-fighters in South Tipperary are said to be ‘bemused’ about a decision to transfer equipment from fire stations in South Tipperary to stations in North Tipperary. Tipperary County Council and Tipperary’s Chief Fire Officer have received correspondence from a local TD, who is seeking an explanation as to why chainsaws have been removed from fire stations n the south of the county and moved to stations in the North of the county.

Deputy Mattie McGrath said there is no apparent reason or cost saving measures involved.  “There are no apparent cost savings involved or any other kind of strategic benefit that I can see. Because of this move, people in the south of the county may now have to wait a full hour before a trained member of the fire crew who is designated to operate the chainsaw arrives at the scene of an accident or emergency”.

County Tipperary has twelve fire stations. Its Headquarters are in Nenagh. The county fire service responds to approximately 1500 call-outs per year.

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Each fire tender mainly carries the same standardised equipment on it. A chainsaw is just one of those standard and vital tools carried by fire appliances in South Tipperary, as is the case with mainly all fire services. Chainsaws are used at a number of different types of incidents including removing trees which may have fallen onto a vehicle, premises or roadway, gaining access or clearing a route in off-road incidents or on rough terrain and also in dealing with gorse and forest fires.

Some fire-fighters in South Tipperary have expressed their concern and dismay at the decision to remove such vital equipment from their local stations.

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According to Deputy McGrath, the chainsaws were removed from some these fire stations and placed n stations which already have a chainsaw. He said “As I understand it, the chainsaws in the South Tipperary stations were transferred to stations which already possess such equipment. My concern is that people, regardless of where they live in the county should have the same access to such emergency equipment via the fire-fighting personnel”.

EmergencyTimes.com is to expect a response from Tipperary County Council on Monday morning.
Photos: Courtesy Pat Flynn