New “chatting benches” where the public can have a chat with a member of the Gardai have been introduced in Wicklow and Arklow towns.
County Wicklow Gardaí, in conjunction with the Wicklow and Arklow Municipal Districts, are delighted to announce the expansion of the “Chatting Bench” initiative already in operation on the promenade in Bray.
The bench in Wicklow is located at the Black Castle while Arklow’s is in St Mary’s Park near the bandstand.
Garda Theresa Kelly trying out the Chatting Bench in Arklow
For at least one hour every week, with the time being announced beforehand on the Garda Síochána Wicklow Facebook page, a member of the Gardaí will be present at the benches, available to have a (socially distanced) chat with anyone interested.
The topics of conversation do not have to be Garda related but in circumstances where someone is uncomfortable, for whatever reason, going to a Garda Station, this might be an opportunity to speak with a Garda in confidence.
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Municipal District, Cllr John Snell, and Cathaoirleach of Arklow Municipal District, Cllr Sylvester Burke, welcomed the initiative being extended to their towns saying that by just having a little bit of interaction can address loneliness and isolation in our communities.
Superintendent Declan McCarthy said: “A Garda will be present to have a chat, give advice or just say Hi and the ‘Chatting Bench’ provides the perfect opportunity for people to interact more with the Gardai in a neutral venue other than at a Garda Station”.