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Garda cyclists on 9/11 memorial mission

GARDAI from all over the country have flown to the United States to take part in a 9/11 charity cycle alongside their American counterparts.

The Tour de Force team has raised over €600,000 for Irish organisations such as Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, and Aware, since it was established in 1999.

This year it has received another €75,000 from donations in support of teenage cancer support group CanTeen, the Irish Heart Foundation and the Alzheimer's Society of Ireland.

Some 54 gardai and garda station staff will join American officers on their 9/11 Memorial Bike Ride for a four-day 500km cycle.

They will start from one of the sites of the 9/11 attacks -- the Pentagon in Washington -- on September 11 and arrive on September 14 at the Ground Zero site in New York.

"We've never done the 9/11 memorial cycle before so it will be quite exciting," Sergeant Liam Hogan told the Herald.

Bond

"It was a coincidence that the American police officers who organise it also call themselves the Tour de Force team like we do, but that's not the reason we chose to take part in the event.

"For us, it was about the appeal of accompanying the New York police (NYPD), it's very significant for us," Sgt Hogan explained.

"We have a common bond with police all over the world, we all put ourselves in the way of harm. To us American officers are just like colleagues," he added.

The American Tour de Force was first undertaken by nine member of NYPD and one member of the Bronx District Attorney Office in 2002 in memory of officers who died during the terrorist attacks.

Now, it involves around 170 officers, who raise money for the families of American police officers killed in the line of duty. Gardai have raised €20,000 for the American charity.


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