Modest Cork garda talks man out of suicide bid

A garda, credited by a suicidal man with saving his life, has said she was just doing her job and doesn’t like the limelight.

Garda Karen Ring, who is stationed in Blackrock, Cork, said she was taken aback when the man went on radio yesterday to say he was just 10 seconds from ending his life when the 30-year-old married garda intervened.

The Irish Examiner tracked down Garda Ring after a man, who only identified himself as Daniel, spoke on radio about the incident.

“I was in a very dark spot yesterday [Thursday]. I wasn’t feeling good, and I decided to walk down to the pier head and end my life,” Daniel told Cork 96fm’s Opinion Line.

Unfortunately while speaking to hosts PJ Coogan and Deirdre O’Shaughnessy, Daniel got the garda’s name mixed up and repeatedly referred to her as Helen.

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Garda Ring and her colleague, Garda Seán Murphy, were on routine patrol when they saw the man close to the River Lee.

“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,” Garda Ring said.

“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. “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.”

It’s understood Garda Ring, who recently married Traffic Corps Garda Ray O’Brien, spent nearly half and hour chatting to the distraught man before she asked him if he would see a doctor.

He said she talked to him about his thoughts and feelings, until he “snapped out” of his frame of mind.

Daniel agreed and she and her colleague drove him to the Bridewell Garda Station, in the city centre, where a doctor was waiting for him.

The two gardaí waited until the doctor gave them a referral letter to Cork University Hospital.

They then drove him there and made sure he was admitted for treatment.

Daniel, understood to be a grandfather, was feeling a bit better yesterday and told the radio station he had chosen to call in and share his story, in case there were others in a similar situation.

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.

Chief 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,” the senior garda said.

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