Gardai's 'love for humanity' praised after ride raises €25k
Cycling gardai have raised €25,000 for suicide prevention charity Pieta House.
The Garda Tour de Force cycling group has donated more than €1m to charity over the past two decades.
Gardai based at Kevin Street Garda Station in Dublin led a group of 21 on a cycling tour of Romania in September.
Each cyclist raised at least €1,000 for the charity on the five-day, 650km ride through Transylvania and other parts of Romania.
"Pieta House is close to our hearts," said veteran cyclist Detective Sergeant Adrian Whitelaw (56), stating that many gardai have been affected by suicide.
The Tour De Force group has now completed two fundraising cycles for Pieta House and will undertake a third ride for the charity in Portugal next year.
Garda Superintendent Patrick McMenamin presented a €25,000 cheque on behalf of his cycling colleagues to Senator Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House, in Dublin yesterday.
"We are very grateful to them for showing their love for humanity by this generous gift. It costs an average of €1,000 to provide a service for each individual so they have provided the means to save 25 lives," she said.
"Their fundraising efforts have been crucial in the important task of also raising awareness about our work."
Last year, 451 lives were lost to suicide in Ireland.
Smaller charities also received donations from the Garda Tour De Force group's funds yesterday, including the Alice Leahy Trust for homeless services, the Breakfast Club, which provides meals for children, and the Down's Syndrome Sporting Organisation.
Dublin GAA stars Stephen Cluxton and James McCarthy attended the event at the Jackson Court Hotel.
Romanian ambassador Manuela Breazu attended to thank them for choosing Romania for their cycling tour, which boosted the spirit of co-operation and friendship between the police forces of both countries.
There are between 50,000 and 60,000 Romanians living in Ireland and a Romanian police officer has been working with gardai in Ireland for the past three years, she said.