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02 Dec 2021

PICTURES | Operation Blue Santa raises €6,260 with spectacular Garda Band concert

Sunday may have been Halloween but Christmas has come early to Longford and Granard Garda Districts and Longford Public Participation Network as Operation Blue Santa gets into full swing.

The mastermind behind Longford’s Operation Blue Santa is Community Garda Emma Kiernan but her idea has grown legs in recent weeks, with stellar efforts put in by Community Policing Units across both Longford and Granard Districts, with Sgt Mick Hogan in Granard and Sgt Darran Conlon in Longford rallying their community garda teams to ensure as much money as possible can be raised for six worthy charities.

The first big event for Operation Blue Santa in association with Longford PPN was a very well-attended concert performance by the popular Garda Band, who entertained a large, enthusiastic crowd at St Mel’s Cathedral on Sunday afternoon.

Between ticket sales and a raffle, featuring some fantastic prizes, a total of €6,260 was raised for Little Blue Heroes, Lús na Gréine FRC, Bridgeways FRC, Longford Women’s Link, St Christopher’s Services and Longford Community Resources.

Blue Santa and his elves welcomed the audience in their blue outfits, created by local dressmaker, Kelly Callinan, and local Gardaí swapped their Garda hats for eye-catching, blue Santa hats for the day.

Following a hugely successful concert, Superintendent Seamus Boyle complimented the Community Policing Unit and, in particular, Gda Emma Kiernan, for the stellar work put in.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work and the band for performing in aid of the six worthy charities whose volunteers carry out great work around the county,” said Supt Boyle, expressing his delight at the wide range of good news stories around the county in recent times.

“Thanks to all the businesses who sponsored raffle prizes and to all the people who attended the event and showed great support.

“Thanks especially to the kids that came along and helped Blue Santa on the day and also to our Little Blue Hero, Darragh Hopkins, who came along on the day.”

The idea for Blue Santa came from the United States, he added, where the police themselves work hard to raise money for families in need every Christmas. Now, thanks to the local Community Policing Unit and the generosity of the public, communities in Longford can benefit from Operation Blue Santa.

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