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won't be home...

'Spare a thought' for gardaí dealing with tragic deaths and family rows today

Not everyone has the day off and many gardaí will spend today away from their families.

ONE OF THE best things about Christmas Day is simply having the day off to spend with the people you love.

Unfortunately for some, we need people to keep doing important work like treating the sick and wounded, putting out fires and catching criminals. Gardaí in stations across the country will spend the day away from their families, often being called in to restore the peace for another family – or deliver them some bad news.

John Redmond of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) said many  will have to “forgo the enjoyment of seeing their children wonder at what Santa managed to bring them and the contentment that accompanies that as well.”

Some will be greeted by the public on Christmas day with smiles and salutations of ‘Merry Christmas Guard’ . Some will even say ‘thanks Guard for all you do’. My guess is not many will say that though.
Some unfortunate gardaí will have to deal with troubles in family homes where they have been called to deal with some incident or another, and maybe even deal with tragic deaths which occur on that day.

It is a day when “long buried arguments resurrect themselves” and garda are called in to “act as peacemakers, calming the combatants before moving on”, one officer told

Another, who is working today said neither he nor his wife, who is a nurse, will be able to enjoy the day in full or together as a family .

“We need a baby sitter for about two and a half hours Christmas morning,” he said. “I’ll get home at 5.45pm on Christmas Day and my wife goes to work Christmas night at 8pm.”

Many couples working in the emergency services are in the same boat. “I am married to a guard so both of us are working Christmas Day – myself 7am to 5pm and my wife 4pm to 2am,” one garda told us. “I will not see my wife on Christmas Day. We have to celebrate it on the 24th for the children.”

Not all of the incidents gardaí deal with on the day are sad, though many are frustrating:

One year I worked, everyone had a scrambler bike and the kids were driving past the station to try to get us to chase them. We spent the whole shift telling parents to keep them inside. Obviously they didn’t and we had to summons to court. It’s also very busy with house rows because people can’t get out to the pub.

And some are even a little funny:

On Stephen’s Day, many years ago, I went to a row between neighbours. A lady had been given a free chicken a few days before Christmas by St Vincent De Paul but she was invited to join a family for dinner so she gave the chicken to neighbours on one side of her. Well the couple on the other side fell out with her on Stephen’s Day when she told them. They figured she should have given it to them as they mind her house when she’s away.

The AGSI’s John Redmond said the families of emergency service workers just have to deal with Christmas without them while they go about their jobs.

“Spare a though for them this Christmas,” he said, in a plea to the public. “Like them or not, they’re the first ones you will call in times of trouble.”

Read: Christmas burglary crackdown: 26 arrests in Dublin … in one day>

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