My name is Patricia Lydon and I’m from The Square, Oughterard. I joined An Garda Síochána on the 13th April 1983.
Arrived in Templemore Training Centre to find that I was one of 22 females who were to train as the first all-female class! My registered number is 00300L so I am the 300th female Garda trained since we were allowed to join in 1959.
Also of interest in that year was one of my training colleagues Brenda Hyland won the Rose of Tralee which brought a lot of attention to us and helped to promote the job for females. Brenda is the mother of Irish Rugby player Tadgh Beirne. We were called April A class and still meet up to this day for social purposes!! Our 40th anniversary is next April.
On passing out of Templemore I was sent to Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick City where I served for 30 years until retirement in April 2014. (I took a leave of absence from 1986/87 and spent a year in New York working in various jobs.)
My duties over the years varied which was the reason I joined, I could never see myself working at a desk and thought the Gardai would be interesting and different and indeed it was.
From walking the beat, working in communications, traffic, crime investigation, firearms, prison escorts, cash escorts, patrolling and from Bill Clinton, George Bush, the Queen and Barack Obama visits etc. it proved an interesting career.
I think the job is too results driven now and sometimes lesser infringements are punished that could be dealt with in a different way. There are a lot of serious issues that need more attention and a better relationship with the community would be more beneficial.