Praise for garda who was backbone of children's court
A JUDGE yesterday praised a garda who is set to retire after 30 years of work with young offenders.
Judge Elizabeth MacGrath led tributes at the Dublin Children's Court to Garda Pascal O'Brien who "broke down the barrier" between gardai and young offenders.
A Dublin native, who has been attached to a number of garda stations in his home city, including Mountjoy and the Bridewell, Garda O'Brien has been a fixture at the Children's Court in Smithfield, north inner-city Dublin, for the past 13 years.
He built up a strong rapport with youths and their parents to whom he offered advise and support. With a wealth of experience, he was also a valuable source of guidance for young officers coming to court for the first time.
Earlier this week two youths, former defendants at that court, heard of his impending retirement and dropped in to say they wished him the best for his future, which he said "meant a lot to me".
And yesterday, on his last day in the juvenile court, he was praised by colleagues, the presiding judge and lawyers.
Before proceedings started, Judge MacGrath said "this is a very important day for you and an important date for this court as well".
"I know that you were one of the backbones of this court," she said.
Judge MacGrath wished him well and ended her tribute, which was followed by a round of applause, by saying: "I hope you will use your great abilities in another format".
Lawyer Sarah Molloy described Garda O'Brien's works as "amazing" and added: "On behalf of the solicitors, thanks a million for all the help and support. You broke down the barrier that sometimes exists between solicitors and gardai and clients and gardai."
Colleague Garda Chris Maguire described working with Pascal as a pleasure.
Garda Sergeant Caroline Maloney said Pascal had been a great help to gardai at the juvenile court which, she added, "will not be the same without him".