Gardaí go 'out of their way' to make 90-year-old's birthday 'extra special'

A Meath family has thanked gardaí for 'going out of their way' to make a local resident's 90th birthday that bit more special.

Paula Joyce was heartbroken when she had to cancel a big party she had organised for her mum Marita Ryan's big birthday on Sunday but a surprise visit from Ashbourne Gardaí with flowers and a card really nailed the mini-event.

Marita Ryan (bottom right) and celebrates her 90th birthday with her family.
Marita Ryan (bottom right) and celebrates her 90th birthday with her family.

More than 70 people were due to attend the event including Marita's son David, who was due to fly home from Australia and cousins who were to travel from the UK before Covid-19 restrictions upended all the plans.

Paula still wanted to mark the day in some way for her mum, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease five years ago, and so arranged a small garden party with Marita's neighbours of 43 years.

"I was so upset that I had to cancel the party for my mother's 90th. Getting to that age is a big deal and I really wanted to make a fuss.

"Over 70 people were to come, including my brother from Australia and cousins from Birmingham

"I couldn't let it go without marking it so I asked their carers and the neighbours, who have lived beside my parents for 43 years, into the garden where we socially distanced and sang happy birthday to my mam who was sitting at the front door with my dad Brendan who is 88.

"The neighbours have all been so good to them through this as have the carers and even the local gardaí who have checked on them and brought messages to them.

I was inside cutting the cake and next thing the garda car pulled up. I nearly died because I thought we were in trouble for arranging the gathering.

"But two lovely female gardaí came in with flowers and a card to my mum and we couldn't believe it. We don't even know how they knew but it was such a lovely touch.

"I didn't even get their names on the day but have since learned it was Garda Barbara Kelly and Garda Emma O'Driscoll from the community engagement team.

"She was just thrilled. They didn't have to go out of their way to do that. But it was such a magical touch that really made the day extra special and we would love to say a huge thank you to them."