Superintendent to retire from top job

By Maurice Garvey

CLONDALKIN Garda Superintendent Brendan Connolly is set to retire on September 12, after seven years in the hot seat at the busy DMR West Division station.

It will signal the end of a 40-year career for someone who is from a family with five generations of Irish blue-blood policing.

Clondalkin Garda Station 06 1 compressor

Superintendent Brendan Connolly

Connolly’s great-grandfather was in the Royal Irish Constabulary, his grandfather was in the Metropolitan Police and An Garda Síochána (AGS), his father was in AGS and his son Daragh is currently stationed at Pearse Street – a place where all but the great-grandfather have worked at some stage of their respective careers.

Originally from Dún Laoghaire, Connolly graduated from Templemore on December 31, 1979, spending the first 12 years of his career in Donnybrook under the tutelage of Sgt Pat Malone.

Malone, who is still with us  today, was a man he learned much from, but a young Connolly didn’t fully recognise this until later in his career.

Gaining his first promotion as a Sergeant, he was redeployed to the West Clare town of Kildysart on January 1993.

“No-one knows where it is, I honestly thought they were winding me up,” said Supt Connolly in his Clondalkin Garda Station office which overlooks the village.

“It’s a beautiful place, located on the estuary, the next parish is New York. Very quiet, very decent people.”

It proved to be a short stint however. Six months later Connolly was reassigned back to the Irishtown-Donnybrook district.

From 1993 to 2002, he was a Sergeant in charge of his own unit, before promotion to Inspector and a move to Pearse Street, where he particularly enjoyed the city centre hustle and bustle.

In 2008, he was promoted to Superintendent and reassigned to Castlerea in Roscommon – enjoying his four years out West, but not so much the pain felt by the rural community during the recession.

Re-deployed to Clondalkin in 2012, he acknowledges there was periods of terrible crimes in the district, but fervently believes the good vastly outweighs the bad.

“From a policing perspective, it was a great place to work,” said Supt Connolly.

“There are pockets in each area that has its problems, young people getting dragged into drugs. But for all that, there is a great community group here. Ballyfermot has fantastic community spirit. Clondalkin has decent people doing the best for their families, and have hopes for their kids.

“I see the younger guards in the station and their interest in people. I’ve certainly enjoyed my time here and met some extremely committed people to the area, not just councillors, but residents and local groups. People are really involved in the community and want something better. They hold us as guards, to try and support that.”

Although he won’t be at the helm to oversee significant population increases with new housing estates and immigration in the years ahead, Supt Connolly believes AGS can meet the challenges that will be posed, but says DMR West requires at least one new station.

“In time, we will need a new station in either Rathcoole or Newcastle,” he said.

“There is going to be a massive influx in places like Newcastle. Part of Saggart is ours. You have these ‘invisible border lines’ that were drawn up when places were fields. Kingswood is split down the middle.

“With non-nationals, I think if we can get it right, build good community relations, and not allow the segregation that has gone on in England, we can manage to avoid the problems that exist in other countries.”

An avid historian of Irish history and Irish policing history, retirement will provide Supt Connolly the opportunity to pursue research – the blue blood quest for justice and truth perhaps entering a new career chapter.

On September 12, Clondalkin Garda Station will host a retirement do for Supt Connolly and a fundraiser for Little Blue Heroes Foundation – a not-for-profit charity which assists children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions.

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