Monday, March 17, 2008

Newest member of Garda Reserve is from Ballymore.

In these days of pressure on people’s time and the business of just living in modern Ireland it is heartening to see that the volunteer ethos is still very strong in the village. One of the most pertinent examples is the graduation of Colette Hempenstall into the Garda Reserve.
Colette, originally from Dublin is one of a family of seven. On leaving school she trained as a nurse, specialising in the field of Intellectual Disability. Colette currently holds the post of Assistant Director of Services, (we would probably know it as Assistant Matron), with Cheeverstown House in Templeogue, Dublin.
She has always maintained an interest in local affairs. She was a member of the Playgroup Committee, the local drama Group and other local organisations.
Seeing an advertisement in the papers in August 2006, Colette applied for training in the Garda Reserve. Following an interview process in Dublin in February 2007, she received her call up in April 2007. The training of a Garda Reserve member takes in five phases of intensive course work.
In Phase one, recruits are trained in the Garda Training College in Templemore, Co. Tipperary. This first phase gives an overview of the role of the Garda as well as on the law practice and procedure. The service requirements are also covered as is general motivation and discipline. Phase two takes place in one of the divisional Garda Stations, in Colette’s case, Naas, and covers a lot of law training in the four main sections concerning the Reserve. Reporting and technology systems are also covered in this phase. This middle phase concludes with an examination. Back in Templemore for Phase Three, self defence training, role play scenarios and radio work are the main components. On completion of Phase three, recruits are issued with their uniform and equipment. Phase Four was completed in Baltinglass and involved a minimum of forty hours training while under the supervision of a Garda including beat patrols and station duty. With the first four phases complete Phase five is an Attestation and Graduation Ceremony back in Templemore.
Colette reached Phase Five on Thursday 13th of December last; she graduated into the ranks of the Garda Reserve. We all went off to Tipperary to witness the event. The Garda Training College is a huge establishment and Garda recruits from all parts of the country go through their training there. Some forty six recruits were passing out on the day. In the presence of Minister for Defence, Willie O’Dea T.D. and Commissioner Fachtna Murphy Colette was issued with her certificate, serial number and warrant card. The Garda band played during the ceremony and in his congratulatory speech the Commissioner told us that the numbers in the Reserve now stand at three hundred. If the group that passed out on that day are representative, men and women from all walks of life, young and old, urban and rural and from other ethic communities are welcomed into the organisation. It was a great day and the culmination of a lot of work and dedication on Colette’s behalf. But then again she does not do things by halves.
As well as her full time work, family commitments and now the Reserve, Colette also facilitates the Cheeverstown Bulgarian Project. This promotes awareness of intellectual disability in Bulgaria and surrounding countries. After four visits Colette has organised funding and development of projects as well as meeting the municipal authorities to engender their collective responsibilities. A Pan European project with Sicily has also meant visits to Sicily, and, this year The U.S. with groups from both Ireland and Sicily to foster cross culture recognition and understanding. A founder member of the Parish Board of management, Colette also trained as a special Minister of the Eucharist last year.

Whilst Colette is stationed in Baltinglass for the time being it must be recognised that she is a resource of the Carlow Kildare Division. Each member of the Reserve is required to give a minimum of two hundred and eight hours duty per year. As the first member of the Garda Reserve to come from Ballymore Eustace she feels honoured to have been accepted into the force and looks forward to participating at whatever level that is required of her during the coming years.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Garda Reserve you can phone lo-call 1890 261 000 alternatively you can apply on-line on Additional information about the Garda reserve can be had from

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