Gerry Bowe Writes:
Bart Howard of Coolcroo, Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, who has retired from An Garda Siochana was the recipient of tributes and presentations in Corcoran’s, Two-Mile-Borris recently. Bart severed thirty years service with the force, the last eighteen of which were served in the parish of Moycarkey, Littleton, Borris and the Thurles Garda District.
In a heartfelt speech Bart said “There is a saying that time moves on like Spring to Summer. We had our ways and the new have their ways as the song says. All good things come to an end, however in my personal capacity I want to say that some things come to an end in a formal state of events, but by no way at local parish level. He assured all that his civilian way will continue to be of help and assistance to the community in the years ahead. You have been my family for many years in the past in so far as helping and assisting An Garda Siochana in sometimes difficult situations. This Sub District of Thurles and this parish have been renowned for their support whenever called upon and indeed during my time there were many times that your help was called for; be it local enquiries or just a friendly conversation that led to good community relations. I personally have to say that most of this happened for me at the introduction of the late Harry Ryan and the Cantwell family of the Turnpike back in 1995 in the local hostelry and has continued to develop.”
Bart went on to say that as he closed one chapter in his official work he was looking forward to a new way of life in the outside world. He always had an ambition to give some of his time to doing missionary work. He added that he was looking forward going to Brazil in September with Father Paudie Moloughney and some local people, to help the poor there develop their unknown skills in many ways.
Referring to his periods of illness he was overwhelmed by the volume of support shown to him by so many and he was in no doubt that their prayers and Masses offered, helped him back to health again.
Remembering the difficult times Bart said that he wanted to remember the families in the community who suffered loss of loved ones through tragic circumstances, many of which for there are no answers. He hoped that whatever tragedies occurred in the parish that he had helped such families to the best of his ability and was thankful for their appreciation.
Bart also had memories of some happier occasions such as following the Wren on St. Stephen’s Day, assembling in Benny’s Pub and calling on hospitals and nursing homes to bring a little extra cheer with music, song and dance to patients and staff. On the return journey pubs would be visited and money collected for good causes.
Other great events in the community were the St. Patrick’s Day parades, the bus trips in the summer, the Halloween Disco’s in the Muintir Na Tire Hall, the Christmas Carol singing, the Jimmy Tobin gravediggers’ retirement party in the Horse & Jockey, the Mock Wedding in Littleton and so many other entertaining occasions. One such was flouting the Liquor Licensing laws on the return of Harry Ryan at 3.00 a.m, victorious from the Nenagh Count Centre and coming to Benny’s.
He was overwhelmed by the many people who sent him cards and retirement messages in the previous days. In conclusion he thanked Gerry Bowe and his crew for organising the function, his Garda colleagues, his supervisors at all ranks in the Thurles Garda District, particularly when he needed a patrol car, and the good people from Munitir Na Tire, the ICA, Sean Treacy Pipe Band, the COL, FAS, GAA, Soccer and the Vintage Clubs.
Gerry Bowe who was M.C. for the occasion outlined Bart’s contribution to the area since he was transferred there from Finglas in March, 1995. Gerry stated “Bart was not long in residence when we became aware of his great qualities; he had the power of doing the ordinary things extraordinary well. He brought a new style of community policing; encouraged neighbour alert groups in our community and our area is all the better for it. Such groups share their intelligence with the local Gardai and the outcome is better and safer neighbourhood for us all. Bart’s style of work while including all the Garda requirements, meant that we experienced a new form, building great relationships with all the residents, Community policing is about building thrust, relationships, knowing one’s community, the people residing there and thereby tailoring the approach that gets results in a particular area. Bart had a very approachable manner, investigative mind and caring personality and his helpful but firm hand was respected by all. His services on many occasions in the parish and further afield went well beyond the call of duty.”
Gerry continued: “The Gardai who manned the Littleton Station since it was first opened in 1923 always had a good relationship with the local community. The Garda who set up the station, was the late Kerry man Garda Michael O’Meara who was to remain there until his death in 1964, the longest ever serving member there. While the “community aspects” of Garda work may not have been evident at the time but Garda O’Meara set the trail for great policing in Littleton, carried down to the present day.”
Bart Ticked All The Boxes
Referring to Bart’s achievements Gerry Bowe went on to say “I can say that Bart Howard ticked all the correct boxes and his very willing co-operation and availability at all time over his eighteen years in our area qualified him for the many awards he achieved. In 2011 he was selected for “The Person of the Year Awards,” by Thurles Credit Union. He was involved with many different organisation such as Community Alert, Victim Support, Positive Ageing, Community Employment Scheme and at traffic controlling at funerals and other events. In 2008 Garda Commissioner Patrick Byrne presented Bart with the Gardai Siochana Merit Award for his commitment and active involvement in the community.”
Presentations were made to Bart and his partner Stella by the organising committee and the Vintage Club (Mary Russell). A slide show was run showing the many events in the parish that Bart was involved in and pictures from his work as a Garda. Thanks were extended to Vincent and Elaine Corcoran for the venue, the Fas for the buntings, the local community, Father Joe Tynan and Eddie for putting together the slides, Tommy Healy for the amplification, Phyllis Galvin and her team for the food, the musicians and all who made the surprise night such a memory for ever.
Also amongst the large attendance were Inspector Padraig De Burca, Mr Tony Cogan former Superintendent, Robert O’Shea, Michael Lowry MCC, Seamus Hanafin MCC, and many present and former Garda colleagues of Barts.