THOUSANDS of euro have already been collected in support of Garda Brian Hanrahan, who is now recovering from gunshot wounds he received while on holiday in New Orleans last week.
And while Garda Hanrahan’s colleagues have been to the fore in the fundraising, people from Newcastle West, where he is based and where he lives with his wife Emma and young daughter Mia, are also making their contribution.
A coffee morning was held in Henry Street garda station this Wednesday morning and a motor-bike ride from Newcastle West to Templemore on February 22 is planned. Police officers in New Orleans and in Newark airport as well as the Irish community in New Orleans have also rallied to raise funds.
Meanwhile, Garda Hanrahan, who was shot in the leg and in the lower back, has been released, under hospital supervision, to a hotel and is making daily visits to the hospital where he underwent surgery last week. The reason is partly due to a steep demand for space at the hospital but also because of the escalating medical bills.
According to his Newcastle West colleague, Sgt Denis Woods, Garda Hanrahan is now facing medical bills of up to $1m and possibly more.
“We are trying to get him home,” Sgt Woods said earlier this week. But, he told the Limerick Leader this Wednesday, it could now be late next week before that happens. “He has to be medically passed as fit,” the sergeant said.
Meanwhile, police in New Orleans have arrested two brothers in connection with the shooting.
Officers confirmed they arrested Melvin and Keith Galle at an address in Laharpe Street but said the investigation remained in progress. The arrest follows the release of photo-fits of the men, and a public appeal, with an award of $2,500, for information.
Following the shooting on January 27, Garda Hanrahan’s wife, Emma, and mother, Rose, travelled to New Orleans where they joined his dad, Brian Snr. The trip had been organised by Brian Snr as a surprise birthday present for his son.
A special account in the name of Brian Hanrahan has been opened at St Paul’s Garda Credit Union, Bohermanna Rd, Cork, and the account number is 55322.
Councillors at this Wednesday’s meeting of the Newcastle West Municipal District unanimously passed on their best wishes for Garda Hanrahan’s recovery to his senior officer, Supt Tom O’Connor, who was attending the meeting.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader afterwards, Supt O’Connor said Garda Hanrahan was “in good form” when he spoke to him by telephone the previous evening. And he commended his colleagues for “digging into their pockets” to help a comrade.
“He is a young man, newly married with a young child. He is a good lad, a good policeman. We wish him a speedy recovery. We hope to have him back with us sooner rather than later.”