Garda cyclists ready and waiting for Dracula challenge
An Garda Siochana may be subject to unremitting bad reports, but they can't be faulted as the State's top charity fundraisers.
This year, gardai will have climbed mountains, rowed across the Irish Sea and in the coming weeks, will cycle over a mountain highway built by a communist dictator in Transylvania. Each year, the total raised for local charities by gardai runs into millions.
Last month, gardai from Store Street Station in Dublin rowed the traditional Dublin Bay skiff from Holyhead to Poolbeg Yacht Club, raising a total of €78,000 for Beaumont Hospital's neurological unit. The 'Chris Crossing' event was organised following the death of Chris Byrne, husband of Store Street garda, Caroline Byrne.
And next month, the Garda Tour de Force team from Kevin Street Station in Dublin is likely to pass the million- euro mark for over 20 years of charity cycling events.
The Garda Tour de Force began with runs to Wicklow but has since spread to almost every country in the EU. This year, they will race through Romania with a climb over the Transfagarasan Highway - named "the best road in the world" for driving supercars by Jeremy Clarkson - to raise funds for Pieta House, the suicide-prevention charity.
The Kevin Street cyclists were warmly welcomed to the Romanian Embassy in Dublin last month by Ambassador Manuela Brazu, along with Deputy Commissioner John Twomey. Mr Brazu said the cycling event was a "positive step within the bilateral Romanian-Irish relationship".
Other gardai fundraising efforts around the country include Donegal gardai's Polar Plunge in the sea each December, which raises large amounts for the Special Olympics.
Read more: Gardaí's Transylvania challenge