Family Supt Pat Doyle with his wife Bernie, and daughters Elaine and Emma at his retirement function in Knockranny House Hotel.
Westport community bids farewell to Supt Pat Doyle
OVER 250 people from Westport and the wider west Mayo community gathered last Friday night in Knockranny House Hotel to commend and thank Superintendent Pat Doyle for his eleven years service as the highest ranking garda official in the town.
The Carlow native spent his last day in uniform last Friday before retiring exactly 35 years to the day that he joined An Garda Siochána.
Among those who travelled long distances for the occasion were many members of Pat’s family in the south east of the country, as well as Assistant Commissioner in charge of the western region, Willie Keane and Judge Mary Devins, who was in attendance with her husband, Fianna Fáil TD, Jimmy Devins.
There were many speakers on the night who all paid glowing tributes to the Supt, who was widely regarded as one of the best prosecuting gardaí in the country.
However, the night belonged to Pat Doyle himself, and true to the forensic way in which he prosecuted his cases in the District Court, he left no stone unturned in thanking a whole host of people during a lengthy address, after a sumptuous meal.
The night was tinged with sadness from the very outset as most of the gardaí in the room had earlier in the week attended the funeral of colleague Terence Dever, who tragically lost his life in a road traffic accident in the early hours of Sunday, May 10. A moving minute’s silence was held at the beginning of the evening before Pat Doyle began his address later in the night, remembering ‘a dear colleague’.
“My thoughts are with the families of Terence Dever and Stephen Conway (the 19 year old also killed in car crash), and also with injured garda Eneas McNulty and Garda Adrian McNulty, who is severely traumatised.”
Pat then welcomed all the members of his extended family who had travelled from the south east of the country, before producing a Carlow football jersey, which he proclaimed to be the ‘nicest jersey in Ireland, although I’m not sure about the football itself.’
He added that like in any career there were good times and bad but he always had the great support of so many people and he would never forget that.
He went on to thank Judge Devins and everyone who had been involved in the court system in Westport, including the solicitors, court staff and media from the area. He also thanked Westport Town Council, Mayo County Council, the HSE, the Mayo Mountain Rescue, the priests of the areas, the schools and he saved a special mention for the Westport Tidy Towns Committee, for their trojan work for the Westport community.
His final mention was for his wife Bernie, who he said he loved dearly, along with his daughters Elaine and Emma, and grandson Ben, admitting that he was very much looking forward to spending more time with them in his retirement.
Earlier in the evening, Gene Quinn, sister of Bernie, spoke on her behalf as she was ‘too emotional to speak.’
She said Pat’s time in Westport had been extremely happy, although she did mention there was one period where matters surrounding the running of Bernie’s clothes shop business in Castlebar had been difficult, but this was beyond Pat’s control, as he had not been implicated in any wrongdoing, She said Bernie had been married to Pat for 30 years and anyone who knew him well knew how straight he was. The whole episode had been difficult for the whole family but they had been there for each other and got through it.
With all of the speeches out of the way, the large attendance settled down for an enjoyable night, with the music been provided by a number of local musicians led by Westport publican John Staunton.
There was also a very special treat for those who stayed on late into the night with world renowned flautist Matt Molloy, who himself is celebrating 20 years as a publican in Westport. making a very rare musical contribution to a private function.
Pat Doyle made no announcement with regard to his plans for the future but it seems certain he will remain involved in some role in community life in either Castlebar, where he lives, or in his home from home, in Westport.
What they said...
Deputy Michael Ring
GARDAÍ are a bit like politicians, we are all the time giving out about them but the reality is we cannot do without them. We have to appreciate all the hard work they do and I think it is always reassuring when you see the gardaí patrolling the streets, something Pat Doyle always made sure was done.
Garda Ronan O’Grady representing the GRA
This has been a very sad and tough week as we all lost a dear colleague (Terence Dever) who would be here among us tonight but for such tragic events. It is nice to be able to attend a happy occasion among colleagues. We always found Supt Doyle firm but fair, in layman’s terms he was a ‘sound man’.
Sergeant Denis Harrington representing Westport gardaí
Supt Doyle was a constant source of support to all his colleagues and his door was always open. He made time for everyone.
Supt Padaric O’Toole representing the Association of Superintendents
“Pat was a man of integrity and fairness and he will be missed as both a friend and colleague. If any of us ever wanted advice, Pat was the man to call.”
Chief Supt Tony McNamara
“For me, Pat was an exemplary policeman and it is a shame to lose him at a time when 40 per cent of all gardaí have less than five years of service completed. He was great with young people and the way he dealt with the families of victims of road traffic accidents was an example to all.”
Assistant Commissioner in Charge of the Western Region
“Our job is about service to the community and Pat epitomised that. He had a huge workload as Supt and he was also in charge of the public order units in the region. He always kept the integrity of the organisation safe.”