An Garda Síochána awarded for viral Jerusalema video

Video of dancing gardaí received almost 5.5 million views on Facebook alone

An Garda Síochána has received an award for its viral Jerusalema video which saw gardaí around the country taking part in a mass dance-off during the pandemic.

The video, which has racked up almost 5.5 million views on Facebook, was released in February during the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was created following a "challenge" to the Garda from Swiss police and spawned dozens of imitations.

The force was recognised at the Excellence in Public Relations awards, which were held in Dublin’s Mansion House on Friday, with the award for best use of digital PR.

The video, while warmly received by most, was not without controversy. The Garda Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) received a number of complaints from the public over the video, including allegations that gardaí were wasting time and resources.

The watchdog declined to open an investigation. “We’d like to confirm that Gsoc will not be taking any complaints about these dancers. Nice moves,” it tweeted.

An Garda Síochána made extensive use of social media during the pandemic to urge people to abide by the Government guidelines and offer assistance to vulnerable groups.

It also received awards for “best in house PR team” and “best internal communication”. The Department of Justice was recognised for its campaign “Still here: Combatting Domestic Violence during Covid-19”.

The Alone charity won the “best public information award” for its campaign advertising its national support line during the pandemic.

Dublin Zoo also won an award for its fundraising campaign, “You can’t furlough an elephant”. The campaign resulted in more than €2 million in public donations over a week in November, at a time when the Zoo had been shut for months.

The Awards are hosted by the Public Relations Consultants Association Ireland (PRCA) and the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII).

Other winners included Ibec, SuperValu, Tourism Northern Ireland and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.