Garda Dongdong shows new face of policing
After only a week as a fully qualified garda, Dongdong Zheng is already being treated as a "regular face" on the streets of her new beat in north Co Dublin.
Dongdong graduated from the Garda College in Templemore last Thursday, along with another Chinese national, Jian Hai Cai, and Polish recruit Maciej Makowski.
This brings the number of foreign nationals who have been fully attested up to 18. A further 32 are also involved in the part-time Garda Reserve.
Their recruitment follows a major drive by garda authorities to become more representative of the community they serve and to also reflect the changes in Irish society over the past couple of decades.
Initial difficulties in attracting recruits from minority communities were eased by changes to the entry requirements for the garda force, particularly age and language barriers.
Since 2006, the force has recruited at least 18 Chinese, seven Poles, five United States citizens, two Romanians, one Greek, one South African and one Dane. Dongdong has been living in Ireland since 1998 and in 2003 she obtained a diploma in supervisory management from the National College of Ireland.
Before she joined the gardai, she worked for almost two years in the international currency exchange at Dublin airport.
Her interest in policing encouraged her to apply to the gardai in 2005 and she began her training in 2007. She was attested last March and stationed in Swords, where she is now a full member of the force. She lives with her family in Co Meath. Her proud father travelled here from Shan-Dong province last week to attend the graduation ceremony and watch his daughter being presented with her certificate by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern. Dongdong's countryman Jian Hai Cai is based in Naas and lives in Co Kildare, while Maciej Makowski is attached to Blanchardstown station in west Dublin.