AN unusual special offer is running in shopping centres in Cork this week. Members of the Garda Reserve are offering suitable people the chance to join their ranks.
There’s no pay as such, the hours can be unsocial and it may not sound much of a bargain. However, those who have joined up say they’ve no regrets.
Mary Kelleher, a 42-year-old mother-of-two from Waterfall, admitted that at first her children were worried about her patrolling the Mayfield area.
“They’re quite happy about it now. I’ve seen quite a lot and dealt with a lot of situations. But I never got out of my depth and there’s great backup,” she said.
Mary, who works in the Brothers of Charity community support services, gets €1,000 expenses for completing 208 hours on the beat every year, like her colleague Stephen Egar.
He’s a 37-year-old father-of-two who started on the beat in December 2006.
“I do two eight-hour shifts a month, mostly weekend nights and I’m attached to Anglesea Street station. I’ve never experienced any nasty incidents. I get a good feeling out of helping people,” he said.
Yesterday the reservists were in the Mahon Point shopping centre trying to drum up interest and quite a few people enquired.
“There was a businessman who is originally from Malta who was very interested. We also got a few enquiries from other non-nationals,” he said.
At the moment there are a Turkish-born and a Moroccan-born man serving in the 25-strong reserve in Cork.
The Garda Reserve needs new recruits and has never hit the highs that former Minister for Justice Michael McDowell had hoped for. When he launched the reserve force, McDowell had hoped to have up to 4,000 on the beat.
The reality is quite different.
The Garda Press Office confirmed yesterday that there are currently 258 reservists working around the country, although another 93 are currently undertaking training at the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary.
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