As an organisation, the Gardai have tried their best to adapt to the needs of community in Killarney during the COVID pandemic – and as it continues on they are there for those who need assistance. This week Editor Michelle Crean asked local Community Garda Deirdre Quinn from Killarney Garda Station how they’re adapting given increased demands from the public such as helping with shopping and prescriptions, and new laws regarding checkpoints and 5km restrictions as the pandemic continues.
“In addition to the usual service readers expect from us, I believe one of the most significant contributions we have made since COVID-19, is the Kerry Community Response Forum, which is a free multi-agency service between the HSE, Kerry County Council and An Garda Síochána, that provides essential support to people who need it,” Garda Quinn explained.
“I have had the most hilarious responses from the public! Mostly very strange looks and comments from people who see me in full uniform doing the shopping or pharmacy calls, thinking it is for myself!”
At Christmas she even had a few extra calls from grandparents who wanted to get gifts and cards for their grandchildren and loved ones, but were unable to do it themselves, or to get someone to do it for them.
“It was so rewarding to be able to do this, because it really meant so much them. I also do a lot of call-backs to people who have experienced domestic related issues. An Garda Síochána understands the added pressure COVID-19 has put on all of us, especially at home, and has recognised the need for someone to reach out. The response has been overwhelming; people have really appreciated this contact.”
And as Gardai work hard on the frontline to keep everyone safe, she has performed some less popular duties too!
“Probably the ones I have received the most negative feedback for is the retail premises inspections, licensed premises inspections and checkpoints. We completely understand the frustration everyone is feeling, but sincerely thank everyone for their continued support and co-operation during these unprecedented and extremely challenging times.”
“Most recently, we just received much needed essential food packages from the Irish Red Cross, for distribution to people who are struggling financially during the pandemic. I have been working with incredible local groups, who will ensure these essential food packages get to the people who need them the most.”
And Deirdre wanted to share some important crime prevention advice, as Gardai have noticed a sharp increase in telephone and online scams.
“Never share personal or financial information online or over the phone. If you are in any doubt, ask someone you trust or ring your local Garda station and they will be only too happy to give you sound advice about it,” she said.