Robin Jose is the first, and currently the only, Indian-born garda in An Garda Siochána.
He would like to see other nationalities joining the Force, he tells Kieran O’Mahony
LIKE many gardaí, Gda Robin Jose, who has become a familiar face on the streets of Bandon over the last two years, will be working over Christmas.
But the Indian-born garda doesn’t mind as he says he will still get to spend time with his wife Amz and their three children at their home in Ballincollig as he will be working at night on Christmas Day
Having arrived in Ireland in 2011, Robin and Amz lived in Cashel for three years before moving to Cork in 2014 where he worked in retail.
It wasn’t until 2016 that he came across a recruitment campaign for An Garda Síóchána that he decided to apply.
‘Training at Templemore College was good but having a family and leaving them here from Monday to Friday was difficult alright. Thankfully, those with families were allowed to go home one night during the week which was helpful,’ said Robin.
He graduated from Templemore in September 2018 and was assigned to Bandon Garda Station where he recently finished his two year probationary period.
‘Bandon is a good station to work in and there’s a great community here and people are friendly and it’s a very good training station also.’
Gda Jose has the unique distinction of being the first and only Indian garda in the entire garda force and he is keen to encourage other nationalities to apply to join the gardaí.
‘Migrants are normally reluctant to apply for public service jobs and so many people are even unaware that you can apply and it would be good to change that. I love my work and I find it very exciting as you don’t know what lies ahead when you check in every day.’
Robin says he enjoys going out onto the streets of Bandon too.
‘It’s great to go out talking to people in the community and people are curious too and they come over and ask me where I am from and it’s all been positive.’
Like many families his children are eagerly awaiting Santa Claus and the Jose family celebrate Christmas just like everyone else.
‘Back in Kerala in South India where I am from we have an equal number of Hindus, Christian and Muslims and we are Catholic but everyone celebrates Christmas there,’ said Robin.
‘We have traditions back home too like going to midnight mass and on Christmas morning we get up early to have a traditional Christmas breakfast and we usually cook lamb for the main Christmas dinner.’
Robin and his family opted for turkey last year but it’s lamb for this year and they are looking forward to it.
Plans to visit both their families in India for New Year’s Eve were unfortunately shelved due to Covid-19 but they did manage to get home last New Year’s Eve.
‘We normally try to get home every 18 months or so and we had planned to do the same this year but all that was changed.’
It’s been a challenging year too from a policing point of view.
‘We had more work to do especially with checkpoints but again most of the people were compliant in West Cork and so many drivers thanked us for doing our jobs.’
With Christmas day just days away, Garda Jose is appealing for people to look out for their elderly neighbours too this Christmas.
‘Keep an eye out for them and ensure they are safe and especially the elderly and even pick up a phone and ring them.
‘Bandon Garda Station is open for everyone so if someone is alone pick up the phone and ring us.’