Gardai help Balbriggan woman connect with her grandkids

by Gazette Reporter

By Rose Barrett

Two Balbriggan Gardai played Good Samaritan by helping a local woman in her 70s to reach out to her grandchildren during the lockdown.

A visit from community gardai Sgt Fiona Savidge and Grda Mark McKenna proved to be a Godsend for Dagmar McLoughlin Smith.

The big-hearted officers brought a tablet and set up a video link so she could speak directly to her four beloved grandkids in Co Kilkenny.

Dagmar told Dublin Gazette: “I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never, ever used a laptop or a tablet before and I hadn’t seen the girls for so long.

“But Sgt Fiona showed me how to use it, and then left it with me, so I got to chat to Aisling (22), Aine (21) and Saoirse (18) in Kilkenny. Then I rang Ellie (17), another granddaughter in Bray.

“Now they’re at college and with the Covid-19 pandemic, I haven’t seen them in so long. Even a planned visit on Christmas Eve had to be cancelled owing to the high virus figures.”

Sadly, Dagmar’s mother Anna Marie McLoughlin (92) died from Covid on April 9 last year.

“The family were devastated, she was fairly independent with great support from all the family, and my brother staying at night. She loved attending outings and family events, I don’t know how she would have handled isolation”.

Sgt Savidge revealed: ““We are very much focused at this time on community, in engaging with the elderly and the vulnerable in the locality. We are now into the tenth month of this pandemic, with many of the elderly cocooning since last March.

“We find most people we visit just want company, someone to chat to. Garda Mark McKenna and I call and chat from the front garden, they come to the porch or front door – that way, we are all adhering to the health regulations.”

She added: “The video call is as easy as making a phone call but they can see their loved one while they converse.

“When Dagmar’s granddaughter popped up on the screen, the excitement between the two was pure magic!

“Grandmother and granddaughter were elated, it was lovely to see and we left them to it to chat. We hope to repeat the experience for her and others in the area.”

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