Granard Garda steps down after three and a half decades

Maybe there is such a thing as a labour of love.

Maybe there is such a thing as a labour of love.

Frequently overused, sometimes underestimated, the saying is without doubt one which fits well with recently retired Garda Dave Feely.

After 34 years, the Granard officer has opted to bow out of public service, a third of which was spent as a superintendent’s clerk in the north Longford town.

During all but two years of that time, the likeable father of four has seen 15 superintendents come and go, six of whom he served as arguably their most trusted aide.

But had it not been for an injury sustained earlier in his career, the opportunity to serve as a clerk may never have materialised.

“I had a traffic accident which effectively took me out of mainstream policing,” he recalled. “I had eight months to more or less decide what I wanted to do and that (clerk) was the course I went down.”

A stint training fellow members of the force on the workings of the gardai’s pulse computer system followed, allowing the avid fundraising organiser to re-acclimatise somewhat.

Reliving that period, he admits the entire episode was one he had difficulty in adjusting to.

“It was a huge change, there is no denying it,” he said with refreshing honesty. “The divisional clerk at the time was Sean Cunningham and I remember the vacancy coming up.

“But it wasn’t as if I got the job just like that, I had to apply for it and hope that I got it.”

Those aspirations became reality soon after when David fought off stiff competition to land the job.

Effectively, ‘the eyes and ears’ of a station’s most senior garda, to the outside world, little however is known about the role of a superintendent’s clerk.

That is, until you ask the man who occupied its position for a decade.

“You are basically the personal assistant to a superintendent. You advise him as to what is going on and that’s the case even when he/she is not there,” he added.

Asked for his views on the half dozen of garda chiefs he served under, the Granard based resident’s reply was both upbeat and diplomatic in its delivery.

“I have to say I have got on with each of them (supts) 120 per cent,” he remarked, before revealing he was in the process of meeting a former colleague, now stationed in Dublin, for coffee.

Over a month on from his departure, David said he intends taking a step back while also spending time with his wife Noreen and four children-Eugene, David, Brian and Darren.

“I will take it easy for a week or two. I also have a bit of gardening and decorating as well as going away for a while,” he said.

The incumbent chairperson of Abbeylara’s anti-crime text alert system, said he also planned on maintaining close links with his many friends and former colleagues in Granard.

“Oh definately,” he chirped. “I will be in for a cup of coffee and catch up for sure.”