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Posts Tagged ‘Gardai’

Known to Gardai – Part 2

It has been a pretty hectic week here in Redwood this week, and I think next week is going to be equally so!  All of which is really great…. there have been some lovely happenings and some not so nice ones.

 

One of the earliest blog posts I wrote was about being ‘Known to Gardai’.  That was way back in November 2009 and described what it was like in 2003.

Well our relationship with the local Gardai has changed a lot in that time.  We don’t have a local Garda anymore.  (For those reading this outside of Ireland – Garda/Gardai are our local police force.)

While I joked in my previous post about feeling somewhat like a notorious criminal as we were ‘known to Gardai’, there are times now that I wish I was known.

Sunrise

We’ve had many changes in the almost 9 years we’ve been here… we’ve had a part-time Garda, we’ve had a Garda and his family even move into the village for a short time.  Now, however, we have no police presence at all.  The whole district has been divided up differently.  We used to be covered from Birr which is just 10 miles away, but now we are assigned to Nenagh – over 25 miles away (and they have to cover as far as Limerick too – which is an hour away from here!).

So if anything happens around here it could be hours before we have any police call.

This was brought home to us recently when our neighbours house was broken into.  Mid afternoon – a beautiful sunny afternoon – and the burglars hit.  And even worse still, on Friday morning last at 9.30 am a gang of four lunatics tried to break into a neighbours house – luckily they were there so the gang scarpered.  But lunatics that they were they tried 2 other houses within a quarter of a mile – again luckily people were at home.

We’ve always had a lax attitude here about locking up the house (and the car), as would all our neighbours.  When you’re in and out to fields, around the farmyard, you are not going to lock the house up each and every time you go out the door.  And anyway, it only increases the chances of loosing the key!

This latest burglary has really upset the neighbourhood.  There are even rumours going about of local ‘bad boys’ casing houses and then informing the city gangs who come out and do the job!

The government are talking about closing even more rural/local stations.  Like so many other decisions – have they thought this through at all?    When there was a local garda in the area, he knew everyone, he could make informed decisions, he would have the ‘chat’ with the joyrider and keep the peace with everyone.

Now we have a regular ‘joyrider’ speeding along a narrow country road.  We’ve had a couple of break-ins.  Hens and ducks have been stolen.  Dogs have been taken.

It really does spoil our lovely bucolic existence!

So over the next few days we will have to sit down with our neighbours and set up a ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ system.  I need to figure out how to set up group texts on my phone (can do so on the computer, but hopeless when it comes to the phone).

We need to start being more vigilant about locking up house and cars.

It is such a pity it has come to this.

Can we have our local Garda back, please?

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Known to Gardai!

As I was trying to remember where I’d put something this morning, and pulling the place apart looking for it… I was reminded of the very first week we were here, and for some reason we had to go and sign some form or other at the local Garda Station.  As you all are probably aware, rural Garda Stations are seriously under threat – in fact, we now no longer have our own Garda Station in Lorrha. However, back then in 2003 we did have a part-time Garda Station.  In all the time I lived in Dublin, other than the Gardai I knew through diving, I can honestly say I never knew my local Garda, even when you consider the years that I was the key-holder for Clark’s house, and the number of late night/early morning alarm calls I answered.

Anyway, that first week as you can imagine we were busy unpacking boxes when I suddenly remembered that we needed to sign this form.  At the time the station was only open for a couple of hours on certain days of the week.  And, of course, it was 5 minutes to closing time when I remembered we had this job to do.  We both ran out and jumped into car.  (I will admit we were rather scruffy looking!)  Get to Garda Station and explain the reason for our visit…. we were asked for identification and verification of who we were… and then received a lecture for not having a driving licence with us as “it is an offence to drive a vehicle without having your licence”!  However, it was OK for us to get back into car, drive the 2 miles back to the house and come back with the said licence!  On our return… we were once again quizzed…. Alfie was behind me as we were quizzed, I was afraid to turn around at look at his face.  One of the questions was “you both live in the same house and yet your surnames are different!”  For those of you who know Alfie you can imagine what his face must have been like!  We managed to sign the form, and left the poor Garda to work out how you can live in a house with two different surnames!

A couple of months later, I had to renew the tax on my car, and pulled the house apart to find the tax book.  At this stage I think we still had boxes that weren’t unpacked.  I know there were boxes not unpacked coz we still have boxes of books that haven’t been unpacked!  Despite the fact that I had diligently labelled all boxes as to what their contents were, no matter where I looked I could not find the tax book.  So being the good person I am I completed the form for the renewal, wrote a nice letter explaining the situation to the car tax people telling them that I had lost my tax book in a house move.  Seems perfectly plausible!  BUT you have to get the form and letter stamped at a Garda Station!  So this time, I thought I’d go to the Garda Station in Birr which would be like the HQ for Lorrha.  Guess who was the Garda on duty – yes, my old friend!  I decided to keep it simple and just ask him to stamp the form.  Oh no, he had to read through everything and then started on at me that I couldn’t put on the form that my tax book was lost in a house move!  I am standing there looking at this guy, and wondering is he going to give me an idea as to what I should say….  No, he just kept arguing that I couldn’t say this!  Thankfully, for somewhere in the depths of the Garda Station (I couldn’t see who was even speaking) a voice boomed out “for God’s sake sign the form for the woman – it’s easily known you’ve never moved house! Hasn’t the woman been through enough!”  It turned out to be the Sergeant who had moved house and knew the chaos that that involves!

Since those first few months we have had 2 different local Garda based in the village and have gotten to know them.  Only last year, when we were going visiting to Cadamstown on a dark, wet, winter’s evening, we came upon a Garda Checkpoint and were greeted with “Hi there Alfie and Margaret” – even though we couldn’t see the Garda’s face….

Does all this now mean we ‘are known to Gardai’.  I wonder every time I hear those news reports!!!!

BTW thank you to all who’ve left such nice comments…. it is great to get them – keep them coming, please!

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