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Gaoth Dobhair native kathleen kelly was one of the first female gardaí in the country

An Garda Síochána mark the occasion with Kelly family

Michelle NicPhaidin

Reporter:

Michelle NicPhaidin

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news@donegaldemocrat.com

Gaoth Dobhair native kathleen kelly was one of the first female gardaí in the country

A presentation was made members by members of An Garda Síochána in Donegal to Kathleen Kelly, née McFadden, who was one of the first female gardaí to join the organisation sixty years ago.

Inspector Shaun Grant, Sergeant Elaine Gordon were among the gardaí who paid Kathleen and her husband, former Superintendent Tim Kelly, a visit to mark the historic event.

A native of Gaoth Dobhair, Kathleen is exceptionally well known and comes from a very respected family. Kathleen grew up alongside another five siblings, Máire ( deceased), Connie, Hughie, Síle and Margaret. Their father was the local headmaster, Owenie Hughie MacPháidín (McFadden) and they all attended school locally.
Two of Kathleen's brothers also became members of An Garda Síochána, Connie and Hughie.
Kathleen joined the ranks of An Garda Síochána in 1959 and was among the first twelve female recruits who joined on July 10, 1959.
Kathleen was stationed in Dublin where she met her husband Tim.
The two fell in love and got married and, like many, life changed for both of them afterwards.
Tim and Kathleen are the proud parents of five children, Paul, John, Noreen, Owen and Adrienne.
Another woman who joined the force in 1959 was Bríd Wymbs, originally from Kinlough, County Leitrim. She retired as a sergeant in 1993.
In an article in the Irish Times, July 10, 2009, Bríd recalled how when she and a female garda stepped onto O'Connell street, for the first time, there was a huge reaction.
The traffic slowed down and people looked out of the windows of the nearby hotels.
Unaware of what was happening, they approached a garda and asked him what was going on, to which he promptly replied: “‘Would you go away from me, for heaven’s sake, it’s yourselves they’re looking at.’ ”
The historic occasion is being celebrated in Dublin today.