Are gardaí in peak condition? Officers enter mountain quest

Four Peak Mountain Challenge sees 100 gardaí raise funds for Aware charity


A group of 100 serving and retired gardaí from across the country will climb the highest mountain peak in each of the four provinces of Ireland next month.

The Four Peak Mountain Challenge, which is raising funds for Aware, spans over three days (May 19th-21st) with participants climbing Carrantoohill in Co Kerry, Mweelrea in Co Mayo, Slieve Donard in Co Down and Lugnaquilla in Co Wicklow.

Members of the gardaí have raised €30,000 to date and are hoping to get to €50,000 by next month. Participants will be accompanied by serving officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD), the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), and Australian and Spanish police who are taking part in and supporting the challenge. Along with raising funds for the charity, the challenge is aiming to raise awareness for Aware’s support services.

Chief superintendent Lorraine Wheatley, who is based at Blanchardstown Garda station, said: “We’re doing this for a number of reasons. We’re very conscious of the tough old job we have, the benefits of being out in nature, the benefits of getting the exercise.

“But also I think, more importantly we’re raising awareness within our own organisation that people do suffer from depression and it can affect people at any stage and we can all get a bit stuck.”

Better place

“We deal with people on a daily basis that have issues and I think the more aware and better understanding we have of depression and mental illness, I think it puts us in a better place when dealing with people.

“It’s about raising awareness internally and externally in our organisation that there is support there.”

Detective chief superintendent Pat Lordan, from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said: “There’s a lot of training going on at the moment, we were out training last night until 10.30pm on Lugnaquila in the dark so there’s a lot of work being done.”

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said: “I’m very pleased to be associated with this very deserving and worthwhile cause.

“I’m also delighted that members of An Garda Síochána, along with some of our international colleagues, are taking on this challenge to increase the awareness of mental health issues, create a positive mental health environment and also raise much needed funds for Aware.”

Fundraising efforts

Dominic Layden, chief executive at Aware said fundraising efforts such as the garda Four Peaks Challenge are worth “so much more than just the monetary value of what is raised”.

“Aware’s services have such a profound impact on people, families, and homes across Ireland,” he said.

“Depression and bipolar disorder can have a huge affect on the person themselves, not to mention on family life and relationships, and things like work and study too.”