Mallow Garda Station? It might just be the template

There are a number of primary and secondary routes surrounding Mallow allowing for large volumes of traffic. Sadly, there are therefore a number of non-fatal and fatal accidents being investigated at any given time. Pictured, Garda John Parker, Roads Policing, and Sergeant-in-Charge, Tony Cronin, Roads Policing.Gardaí Philip O’Neil, Siobhán Costello, Dáithí Ó’Floinn and Sergeant Mark Daly, pause for a moment before going out on a Covid-19 checkpoint near Mallow.Mallow town has a population of almost 13,000 souls and its greatest boast? It’s Garda Station of course, serving it, and the larger surrounding hinterland.Superintendent William Duane is the highly regarded head of Mallow Garda Station. Meet him and you’ll soon see why. Inspector Miriam McGuire has recently been posted to Mallow Station. She and her family have serious Garda pedigree.

Visiting the beating heart of Cork County, Editor John O’Keeffe couldn’t help but notice a distinct unity of purpose

The moment you meet him you’ll like him. That’s always a good start. I’m talking about Superintendent William Duane, chief bottle washer at Mallow Garda Station. And it’s important. To be a well-liked Superintendent is, unsurprisingly, not a given. Duane need have no worries. About as efficient and as clubbable as you can get, he exudes all the muscular confidence and personability that Frontline officers appreciate.

It boils down to one thing. “We are a Unit, not Units,” he said. I liked that and as I (safely) walked around the station and out on checkpoints with the Frontline, one thing became clear. He was right. This station’s incumbents get on – and it shows.

It’s not a small garda station, having some 66 personnel. The District (with eight other stations) swells the numbers to 136. But whether you are a one-man station or the size of a small village, like Store Street in Dublin, you have one thing on your mind at present – Covid-19. “All members have taken onboard social distancing, adopted the buddy system and have ensured that recommendations of the World Health Organisation are adopted,” Duane says. “Units have been split and parade at separate premises and members are very happy with the new 4-Unit Roster which have allowed for greater visibility of resources and patrolling.”

Garda John Parker, GRA CEC Representative for Cork North is a Mallow garda through and through and he too reflects the Superintendent’s positive view. “There is a great camaraderie among the district personnel all the way up the ranks and this has become even more evident during the current worrying Covid-19 crisis. It’s everyone’s shoulder to the wheel. Hopefully we come out the other side unscathed.”

Out on checkpoint the glue that keeps Mallow Gardaí together was even more obvious. Garda Mary Brosnan (Kanturk) and Garda Yvonne Cashman (Charleville) blended perfectly with the Mallow crew. (Fun fact about Garda Cashman – she’s a Black Belt, 4th Dan, in Karate – and so can chop you in half from 50ft). Truth to say, these checkpoints were more like an opportunity to have friendly, safe-distance banter with the local Mallow community, than to pull anyone over for non-compliance. And for the record, Mallow denizens were very compliant that day.

Aside from Covid-19, the biggest challenges faced by Mallow are little different from many other stations that straddle the rural and urban divide. Travelling criminals target this District and commit some serious crime. A lot of investigations too are based around fraud and sexual crime – there are a high number of historic sexual crimes reported in the area. Drugs have also been a problem. They have, however, a very successful Drugs Unit with in excess of €2m in drugs being seized over the last 12 months.

Mallow Station is course more than the sum of the above parts. Policing Mallow District is by consensus, according to Duane and, “no one person can take the credit for a successful job or outcome of an investigation – everybody must play their role.” He pays special tribute to all his staff from senior to junior members – too numerous to mention here.

He singles out Inspector McGuire, however, who, “has an excellent understanding of policing structures and policy.” She is the real deal alright and I soon find out that her father was a Superintendent, one brother is now a Superintendent and another of her brothers is a Sergeant. To the Garda manor born you might say.

But as Duane says, “every member in Mallow has excellent traits and offers something to the community and to policing.” I know – he would say that, wouldn’t he, but he just might be right. Certainly, the crew I met that day fitted the bill. Gardaí Dorgan, Hayes, O’Gorman, O’Neil, Costello, Ó’Floinn and Parker as well as Sergeants Daly, Foley and Kelly, with Garda staff, were like as well-oiled a machine as I have seen.
Duane sees a number of changes coming and says, “when all members are equipped with mobility devices this will assist with Frontline policing.” He also says that it is necessary for members to live and interact with the community they work with so, “they will have to be facilitated to work near where they reside or have come from.”

Truth is, Mallow Station ticks all the policing boxes and then some. Take a bow Cork North.

For full and in-depth coverage, see the current printed edition of Garda Review.

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