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Joe Connolly RTÉ
garda down under

Garda left Ireland for Oz after being spat on, threatened and kicked at Dáil protest

Joe Connolly is now settled in Australia and stars in a new RTÉ documentary.

AN IRISH GARDA left to join an Australian police force after he was spat on, threatened and kicked at during a protest outside the Dáil.

Joe Connolly (29), who is from Tallaght, is now starring on new RTÉ documentary series Garda Down Under, and makes the admission on the first episode of the show, which airs tonight.

“I was outside Dáil Éireann at a protest and I was kicked. I was spat at,” Joe, who was stationed at Pearse Street Garda Station at the time, said.

I was threatened that a brick would be thrown in my face and under the Haddington Road Agreement I had been working for free, basically. I was doing a 10-hour shift for absolutely nothing.

He is now a member of the Western Australian police force (WAPOL), and is one of 30 gardaí who have emigrated to the area after a recruitment drive.

So I just said: ‘Look if I get this job, I am taking it, I am taking this opportunity, I am not going to let it pass by’. I haven’t and now I have a pool in my back garden.

Connolly is one of the stars of Garda Down Under, a fly-on-the-wall, six-part series looking at life on the beat for Irish officers working in Western Australia. It includes officers working in urban centres like Perth, and those who are based in more remote territories.

RTÉ - IRELAND’S NATIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA / YouTube

One of the officers, Peter Crosbie, is a forensic officer who mainly investigates the aftermath of burglaries. He is married to an Australian but decided to move to Perth in 2011 as he couldn’t see himself getting promoted in the gardaí, and felt that morale was low.

Michael Henderson, an ex-Cork garda, works in the outback town of Kununurra, which he said is paradise “when you’re not working” but is quite “tribal”.

The show demonstrates how difficult it is to work in a remote area where “you never know what is going to happen”.

The first episode of Garda Down Under airs tonight on RTÉ One at 8.30pm.

Read: Gardaí ban Paul Murphy from collecting because it might encourage lawbreaking>

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