Dublin Airport's Airport Police and Fire Officers were celebrated with great pride during the recent National Services Day (NSD) event on Saturday, September 2, 2023. This special occasion showcased the dedication of the airport's firefighters and police officers, emphasising their contributions to public safety and security.
Chief Airport Fire Officer, Gerry Keogh, expressed his pride in the Fire Service team, stating, "Our Airport Fire Service stands as a testament to our commitment to safeguarding the well-being of our passengers, staff, and the local community. Participating in National Services Day allowed us to share our dedication with the public and celebrate the unity and camaraderie among our emergency services."
Echoing Keogh's sentiments, Chief Airport Police Officer, Kenneth Roberts, shared his enthusiasm for the event, saying, "Dublin Airport's Police team was honoured to be part of National Services Day. This event provided an opportunity for us to showcase the professionalism and dedication of our officers as they worked diligently to ensure a safe and secure environment for all."
Among those who proudly stood with Dublin Airport's dedicated teams was APFS Officer Turlough Dooley, who had been actively engaged in National Services Day since 2014. Officer Dooley, a vital member of the Dublin Airport Fire Service, took pride in his role and was honoured to represent and walk alongside his dedicated colleagues. Reflecting on his journey, Officer Dooley shared, "In 2014, shortly after being promoted to Station Officer, I was asked to attend a meeting at St. Mary's Hospital Phoenix Park to 'take notes on an upcoming event.' Little did I know that I would end up on the committee that year. In 2018, I was appointed to the Board of NSD, taking over the role as organiser of the Parade and Display for Dublin. Since 2021, I hold the position on the board as Treasurer for NSD."
Dublin Airport's involvement with National Services Day dated back to 2014, with the airport's personnel regularly marching in the parade alongside their Police K9 vans, Fire Jeeps, and the striking Major Foam vehicle. The Major Foam tender, known for its impressive size, had become a highlight of the parade, capturing the attention of spectators.
The history of National Services Day traced back to retired Headmaster Seamus O'Neill, who initiated the event in 2013 to show appreciation for the emergency services. The event had evolved into an annual parade, celebrating the contributions of frontline emergency and security services.
In 2018, the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar designated the first Saturday of September as National Services Day, signifying the significance of the event. Over the years, the event had grown substantially, with thousands of participants and spectators lining the streets to support over 25 frontline emergency organisations.
The celebration commenced with a remembrance service at Dublin Castle at 11:45hrs, followed by the parade from Parnell Square to Dublin Castle at 12:00hrs. Airport Chief Fire Officer Gerry Keogh, Chief Airport Police Officer Kenneth Roberts, and daa CEO Kenny Jacobs laid wreaths during the remembrance service to honour fallen comrades.
As Dublin Airport's Fire and Police Services prepared for their participation in the NSD parade, the event marked a milestone in its history, with the 2023 celebrations marking its 10th anniversary. The day was a special occasion, with various Pipe & Drums bands from different frontline organisations participating in the parade and showcasing their commitment to public safety.
National Services Day celebrations extended beyond Dublin to locations across the country, including Naas, Kilkenny, Cork, Roscommon, Sligo, and Drogheda. The event provided an opportunity for families and individuals to witness the dedication of emergency services personnel.