One of the gardaí involved in a dancing video that's gone viral says he hopes they've put a smile on people's faces.
The force today released a video with members from across the country dancing to the South African song ‘Jerusalema', after being challenged by their Swiss counterparts.
The video's proven an immediate viral hit, racking up nearly 600,000 views on Twitter alone as of this evening.
We have stepped up to the Swiss police @fedpolCH #JerusalemaChallenge. Gardaí across Ireland answered the call to give the public we serve a lift in these challenging times. #StayTogether #homeStaySafe pic.twitter.com/sbLdkk54hB
— Garda Info (@gardainfo) February 2, 2021
Sergeant PJ Griffin of Thomastown Garda Station was among those featured in the opening clip of the video, and he spoke to The Hard Shoulder about how the video came about.
He explained: "We stop a car in beautiful Woodstock in south Kilkenny… and we perform a car stop - a Swiss car with a Swiss plate on it.
“Locally, our own Superintendent Tony Lonergan nominated us - thanks very much Super! Initially, it came through Europol by the Swiss police… and they obviously wanted to challenge An Garda Síochana in Ireland.
“It was set up that different stations around the country could send in nominations - we were one of a number of those.
"I was tasked with trying to get a suitable location in our district in Thomastown… so I suggested maybe Woodstock."
Civilian members of the force were also involved, dancing in front of a derelict building on the main grounds of the same site.
'My superintendent didn't need much practice'
The video moves on to feature gardaí dancing in other scenic and urban locations across the country.
For Sgt Griffin and his colleagues, there were a couple of days of practice involved, but they had the help from the choreographer son of one member of the force.
He told Kieran: "We’re guards for a reason. If we were dancers, we’d be on stage.
“My superintendent didn’t need much practice - he’s a former [ballroom] dancer, or he told us that anyway.
“It was great fun, and at the time you think you’re mad or crazy doing this. But the purpose of it was twofold: to showcase Ireland, and to put out a positive news story on our behalf to the country and put a smile on people’s faces.
“I hope from our point of view that’s what we done… and I think we might have done that."
He praised Steve McDonagh of Garda Headquarters for filming the footage in the video, and said the scenery featured in places such as Tralee and Sligo is 'breathtaking'.
Sgt Griffin said that while there were suggestions the force may now challenge their English or Northern Irish counterparts, that will ultimately be a decision for someone higher up than him.