Gardai take OAPs to see arresting sights
BENEFIT: Kerry tour combats loneliness in the community
Gardai from two busy city-centre garda stations have taken around 250 senior citizens on holiday to Kerry.
Members of the force from Kevin Street and Kilmainham escorted the elderly from the Liberties and other city-centre areas to Kenmare for their 25th consecutive annual visit to town.
The initiative was started in 1985 by the now retired garda John O'Sullivan, as a way to combat the isolation and loneliness felt amongst the city's elderly -- and build a strong link between the residents and gardai.
Garda Deirdre McMenamin from Kevin Street Garda Station, who has volunteered her time to go to Kerry for the past 10 years, says the 25th anniversary is a massive occasion for the elderly.
"It gives the elderly an opportunity to meet with gardai in the area. They're all from the south central area and we've a band ready to meet us off the bus and bring us to the hotel.
"This is extra special because members of the force are coming on this trip who were involved in it 25 years ago. We'll have 30 staff in total, with one nurse to change dressing or give out tablets if needed."
Five coaches arrived in Kenmare on afternoon and locals lined the streets with bunting and banners to make it an extra special memory for the senior citizens arriving.
"It's going to be really special, the hotel is going to have games for us because they're used to us coming down.
"And we'll be heading to the Lakes of Killarney and doing some shopping for their grandchildren. And on Saturday the Bishop of Kerry will give a special Mass down in Bantry.
"We'll drive part of the Ring of Kerry as well, and the Superintendent from Kevin Street will be there on Saturday night as well. We're also going to visit Sneem, which is a tidy town as well."
The benefit of these holidays for the past 25 years is evident in that the senior citizens now relate to local gardai and nurses much better, and they're less isolated in their communities.