'Dream come true' says one of ten new Garda probationers posted in city

'Dream come true' says one of ten new Garda probationers posted in city

Chief Supt Barry McPolin, centre, with 10 new probationer gardaí: Ronan McGuckin, Rory Fogarty, Micheal O’Shea, Padraig White, Jason Sheehan, Michael Harney, Ryan Dillon, Eric Keane, Simone Gilman-Burke and Jessica Stafford at Anglesea Street Garda Station yesterday. Picture: Larry Cummins

TEN new probationer gardaí have been allocated to the Cork City District, much to the delight of Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin.

It brings the total number of probationer Gardaí in the Cork City Division to 49. Five of the new members are going to Gurranabraher and five more are going to Togher.

Among the new recruits is Cork’s Coastal Rowing Champion 2014, Ronan McGuckin, who swapped computers for patrolling, leaving a career in Project Management to take up training in Templemore.

From Blarney, Ronan has been sent to the Togher district to serve the community under the leadership of Superintendent Charlie Barry.

Ronan said he always wanted to be a guard but went into IT after school and ended up with a Masters in Electronic Business.

Probationer Gardai Ronan McGuckin and Jessica Stafford who will be based at Togher.Pic; Larry Cummins
Probationer Gardai Ronan McGuckin and Jessica Stafford who will be based at Togher.Pic; Larry Cummins

“I threw myself into the most business job I could think of,” he said.

“I was working in project management and I really enjoyed working with the people, I had a great team, but I just didn’t like the job itself and I wanted to do something different.

“I always wanted to help people and be of service to the community so that’s why I went into the guards,” he added.

One of a number of Garda members in his family, Ronan said it was early days to make a decision on specialising, but he said he thought he would enjoy a role such as the Juvenile Liaison Officer (JLO) working with young offenders.

“I really like working with people and being hands-on,” he said.

Speaking about his colleagues in the Togher district, Ronan said everyone was welcoming and obliging.

“I couldn’t speak highly enough about them,” he added.

As well as working hard on the force, Ronan also rows 200km a week with the Senior Crew of the Cork Boat Club.

“I used to row coastal rowing in Midleton with Whitegate. My friend and I won a few championships with them. Now I do river rowing with Cork Boat Club and we are hoping to win something big this year as well,” he said.

Ronan said he manages to fit in training every day either early in the morning or late in the evening, depending on his shift pattern.

“It is great fun, we have a great team,” he said.

Jessica Stafford, aged 26, from Wexford, is another of the five new probationers being posted in the Togher district.

The qualified hairdresser said she has always wanted to be a guard, ever since she did her Transition Year placement with the Gardaí many years ago and it is a dream come true for her to finally wear the uniform officially.

“I am the first guard in my family, my parents are very proud,” she said.

Jessica had also gone back to college to study Applied Social Studies and had finished her second year before getting the good news that she had been accepted into the Garda College in Templemore.

“I hope to return to college at some point in my career to finish my degree.”

Chatting about her placement in Togher, Jessica said: “I love it — so far, so good. The tutor guard is very helpful.”

Speaking about her experiences on the frontline, Jessica said she had been dealing with a lot of traffic accidents, public order offences, theft and even got to work with the dogs unit on her first day.

Looking ahead, Jessica said she had no clear path for her future in the force and wanted to concentrate on learning the basics.

“At the moment I just want to get a feel for policing at a general level for all the areas and figure out then what area I want to go into,” she said.

Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said the new members are much needed and will help replace vacancies.

“The new probationers will replace members who have retired, been promoted to higher rank, been transferred to other Divisions or who were appointed to non-front-line or specialist units over the past few years.

“The new gardaí will each be assigned a Tutor garda and a Sergeant who will oversee their development.”

Chief Supt McPolin said the local superintendents in each area will allocate the new members to areas that need attention, taking into consideration crime trends, population and the overall policing needs.

“This will ensure that optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.”

Chief Superintendent McPolin said the youth, enthusiasm and skill set of the new probationers will be a welcome addition to An Garda Siochana.

“The new members will increase Garda visibility on the streets and strengthen our relationship and links with the community and the people of Cork.”

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