THE Late Late Toy Show may be on this Friday night but it was gardai from the Bruff district who showed off their toys at an open day last weekend.
Hundreds of people from across Limerick attended the family-oriented event at Bruff garda station which was the first of its kind to be held in the station since it opened more than 20 years ago.
Such was the excitement in the locality, crowds began arriving at the garda station almost an hour before the scheduled start time of 2pm on Saturday.
Local gardai from the Bruff district as well as members from several specialist units were happy to pose for photographs and chat with members of the public throughout the day as they explained what they do on a daily basis and the resources which are available to them.
“It’s a fantastic occasion to show our garda station to the local community. What I’ve always found is people are curious about what we do and how we do it and it is a great opportunity for us to display the different units we have – both locally and divisionally and we have some of the national units down as well,” said Superintendent John Ryan who organised the event along with Sergeant Tadgh Reeves.
Those who attended the open day were able to freely walk around the ground floor of the garda station where they could view areas such as the cells and interview rooms.
One of the most popular attractions was the fingerprint room where Garda Tammy Mitchell of the scenes of crime unit took the fingerprints of dozens of children while others were just happy to have their mug shots taken.
The car park outside was a hive of activity during the open day as members of the armed regional support unit, the public order unit, the dog unit, the mounted horse unit and the roads policing unit were happy to show off their vehicles and specialist equipment.
German Shepard Dex proved popular on the day as did the garda horses Aillean and Donagh. “It’s good PR for the guards, it’s good for the community and for decent people to come in and see the resources that are available,” said Garda Martin Hennessy who has been attached to the Garda Dog Unit in Limerick for fifteen years.
Divisional crime prevention officer, Sergeant Ber Leetch was on hand and to give some advice throughout the open day while members of Kilmallock Red Cross also gave presentations on first aid kills and on how to perform CPR.
Deputy Niall Collins, says the open day was a brilliant idea. “Having a community event here like this and seeing the crowds turning up and particularly young people is really important for An Garda Siochana and it helps them to forge links with the local community,” he said.
One of those who attended the garda station was Michael Reidy from Bruff. “I have never been in here before, to get in to see what is going on is brilliant and there is so much to see here it’s brilliant – absolutely fabulous,” he told the Limerick Leader.
“It’s a great day, it’s brilliant to get in and to see everything and to see how the gardai work and how the armed unit works and the police horses, it’s fantastic,” added Michael who brought his three-year-old son Oran.
Tom Bulfin, also from Bruff, said he too was impressed with the event: “It’s excellent, it’s great idea and it gives the kids a chance to see the garda station in a very child-friendly environment and the guards are excellent.”