SERGEANT Gerry Carmody who has worked in the Millstreet area for the past 17 years and who celebrated his retirement at a function at the Wallis Arms Hotel last Monday has enjoyed a rewarding career.
He has the distinction of serving during the visits of four American Presidents to Ireland. He was on duty when Ronald Regan came to Ballyporeen; when George Bush visited Limerick; during Bill Clinton's sojourn in Kerry, and Barack Obama's recent appearance in Dublin. He was also part of the force that protected the Pope in 1979, and was also involved in policing Queen Elizabeth's historic visit last month.
Gerry, born in Scartaglin, Co. Kerry, joined the gardaí in 1973. His first posting was to the Cavan/Fermanagh border where he served for five years at a time when the situation in Northern Ireland was volatile. He was transferred to Co. Cork in 1978, and worked in the Crookstown and Bandon areas before moving to Millstreet in 1994.
Speaking to The Corkman Gerry said: "I've worked in the Millstreet area for the past 17 years, it is such a lovely part of the country, and I was very lucky because we're also responsible for the Knocknagree, Rathmore, and Ballydesmond area which is near my own home in Scartaglin. I knew the people, and nicer people you couldn't meet. I enjoyed every minute, if I had to do it all over again, I would do the exact same."
When asked how he coped with the downside of the job he replied: "Every guard experiences very tough circumstances at times, like infant deaths and fatal accidents which we have to cope with, in our time we didn't get any counselling which is a great help today but we coped as best we could."
Family, friends, and Garda colleagues from all over the division joined Gerry, his wife Helen, and son Patrick to mark the occasion. Sergeant Paul O'Donovan, who was MC for the evening, commended Gerry saying: "Gerry served the community exceptionally well over the past 17 years. On behalf of the gardaí in the Kanturk District and the West Cork division, and also the civilian staff, I'd like to wish Gerry and his wife Helen the very best in their retirement."
Inspector Declan O'Sullivan complimented Gerry saying: "I want to acknowledge the contribution you made, especially here over the past 17 years. It was a pleasure to work with you, thank you for all the work you've done."
Inspector Tony Sugrue then presented Gerry with a crystal bowl from the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors.
Sergeant Tom Nash then presented Gerry with a statuette from the International Police Association. Gerry's wife Helen received a bouquet of flowers from Margaret Lehane, clerical officer at the Millstreet station. Gerry received an aerial view photograph of Millstreet from Cllr Noel Buckley and a token of appreciation from Frank Buckley which was given by the Gneeveguilla and Rathmore publicans. The Kanturk Garda District Social Club gave Gerry the gift a Waterford crystal lamp which was presented by David Woods.
Gerry has returned to his beloved Kerry and the family now live in the Ballyduff area. Replying to all the compliments Gerry thanked his friends and colleagues, and also his wife Helen, and son Patrick who were always there to support him.
When The Corkman asked what his plans were he replied: "I'm heading off cycling the Ring of Kerry on July 2. I walk on Ballyheigue or Ballybunion beach every day and we're lucky to be part of a lovely community in Ballyduff."