Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Detective John McCarville retires (with 4-5 photos)
Residents from the communities of Ballymore Eustace, Blessington, Manor Kilbride and Hollywood turned out in force to pay tribute to retiring Dectective John McCarville at The Ardenode House Hotel recently. Throughout his 33 year career with the Gardai, John had worked with the Carlow, Baltinglass, Naas divisions and in latter years, was based at Blessington Station. There were more ‘supers’ in attendance than all of the Superman films and series put together!

Presentations and tributes were made to John from Chief Superintendent Michael Burns (Naas); Superintendent Tom Mulligan (Baltinglass); Superintendent Tom Neville (Naas); Superintendent Gerry Redmond (Carlow) with Inspector Patsy Glennon (Naas) and colleagues from Blessington also in attendance. Martin Walker, Area Administrator, Blessington and Garda Brendan Costelloe paid warm tributes to John, not only for his professional input but as the person colleagues chose to confide in and seek advice from.

“Just looking at the attendance here tonight,” said retired Chief Superintendent Sean Feeley. “There’s sheepmen, sand & gravel men, concrete men, community workers – from all parishes around. John epitomises ‘good policing’; it’s not all about pulling people at check points or getting cases into court. John more than any one has integrated with the community, advising families in difficult times and kept many a person on the straight and narrow.”

Tributes from further Garda representatives voiced not only huge respect for John in his role of policing and investigative work, but for his compassion both to members of the public and to his team-mates whom he appears to have been somewhat of a confidante and general ‘counsellor’. His wit and humour too referred to and you could feel the genuine affection and esteem he is held in throughout the Garda Force.

Community Awards
As the tributes flowed, this sentiment was repeated throughout the night with community awards also presented by Eddie Hubbard from Ballymore Eustace GFC; Eoghan Barrett of BME Juvenile GFC; Mairead O Flynn, principal of Scoil Mhuire and Tim Grace of The Ballymore Eustace Senior Citizen’s Association who described his good friend as a “pure gentleman” and Kathleen Jordan presenting Pauline with a floral bouquet.

“Everybody knows him!”
In a humorous mode, Mairead O Flynn praised John as ‘the voice of reason’ on the Scoil Mhuire Board of Management and thanked him for his incredible input into the running of the school. Presenting John with a framed collage of school children’s finger prints - which she hoped would not yield results in future crime investigations - Mairead added: “ We recently asked the children to talk about famous people they admired; of course, we got the usual results – Posh and Becks, popstars, Anthony Rainbow – but one little girl put up her hand and said “John McCarville, Miss! He has a farm near my granny – I don’t know what he is famous for, Miss but everybody knows him!”

“John - the epitome of good policing” – Sean Feeley (4-5 photos)

“Don’t become a Consultant, John!”
Fr Frank McDonald and Fr Sean Breen attended the tribute night and the latter was called upon to make a few words. One thing you can say about our padre – he is predictably interesting in his speeches because you really can’t predict what he is going to say! “Let me tell you about this family, John, who were driven mad by this amorous tom cat of theirs. Every night, the lively chap kept them awake until finally, they decided to ‘have the job done’, if you know what I mean. All was well for a few nights but then they found their yard full of cats again, about 20 of them sitting around listing to yer man in the middle. Now that he couldn’t do the deed himself, he was telling the other cats how to go about it – that’s what consultants do, do you see. For God’s sake, John, don’t become a consultant…”

Joking aside, Fr Breen paid warm compliments to John for his strong faith, noting that John and his family were regular churchgoers, “not like some of ye here who only come now and again and yez stick out like a sore thumb ‘cos ye stand up when ye are supposed to sit down…” You won’t fall asleep listening to our padre, that’s for sure!

Garda Ann Marie Molloy made a presentation to Pauline, John’s wife and John in turn, thanked Pauline for her quiet support over his 33 years in the force and acknowledged that her privacy and family life was often intruded upon by the nature of his job. In an emotive speech, he praised his children Aine, Darren and Mark of whom he is “extremely proud of your achievements and your outlook on life”, his colleagues past and present and in particular staff of Blessington Garda Station and Tim Grace who organised the farewell function.

John acknowledged friends from Roscommon who had travelled for the occasion and the many gardai he had worked with previously. He further thanked all the local clubs who made presentations to him, his neighbours in the Donode and Naas Road and his many good ‘farm advisors’ in Tipperkevin plus the Church of Ireland in Blessington for their kind tribute during the week before.

“I will miss the camaraderie and the many good friends I’ve made over the years in the force” added John “but I will not miss having to call to a family to tell them we’ve found their son’s body in the Dublin mountains with a bullet in the back of their head or to another family to inform them their child has been killed in a car accident. That is something you never get used to.”

John takes on the role of Liaison Officer in the housing department with Naas Town Council this month despite Fr Sean Breen’s plea. I was so pleased to attend his tribute night, to acknowledge a man who was a terrific neighbour to all on the Naas Road, to a man who was given The Ballymore Eustace Person of the Year Award for his community work and who clearly will be remembered for the compassion he showed during his 33 year career in the Garda Siochana.

Good luck and good health to you always, John.

Rose B O Donoghue

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