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End of an era as Chief Superintendant John Scanlan brings the curtain down on distinguished career

After 41 years of distinguished service, John Scanlan, the Chief Superintendent of the Laois-Offaly-Kildare Garda division is set to retire this week.

Mr Scanlan joined the force in 1982 – and has been the local Chief Superintendent, based in Portlaoise, for the past 11 years.

A function to mark his retirement was held in the Killeshin Hotel last night – where tributes and well wishes were led by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and included contributions from many of his colleagues over the years.

A native of Limerick, his first posting after passing out was to Coolock in Dublin where he spent nine years. Promoted to sargeant and transferred to the Garda Training College in Templemore, he spent a time there before moving to Ballyfermot as an inspector.

He was then a Detective Inspector and later Superintendent in Limerick where he played a key role, along with others, in the mid to late 2000s in bringing an end to the infamous feud between the rival Keane-Collopy and McCarthy-Dundon gangs.

Many of the key members on both sides of that feud are serving long prison sentences.

On being promoted to the role of Chief Superintendant in Laois-Offaly, Mr Scanlon moved and settled in Laois, getting heavily involved in the Cullohill community and with The Harps GAA club. He has been the driving force behind the Folly Festival in Cullohill which began in 2018.

In 2019, following a restructuring of the Garda divisions, Kildare also came under his remit. Among those to speak at Friday’s event were Eamon Curley, Superintendent in Portlaoise, as well as Ollie Henry, Superintendent in Naas.

MC for the function was Anthony Pettit, Chief Superintendent for Carlow-Kilkenny-Waterford and a former Superintendent in Portlaoise.

John Scanlan’s influence on big events in this region was one of the considerable feathers in his cap – with both Electric Picnic and the National Ploughing Championships widely praised for their smooth running, something An Garda Síochána played a vital role in.

His relationship with Electric Picnic organiser Melvin Benn and Anna May McHugh from the National Ploughing Association was of vital importance and Anna May was on hand to make a presentation.

Also in attendance was Assistant Commissioner Paul Cleary while Mr Scanlan was joined by his wife, Anne Marie McMahon, who is Deputy Commissioner, and their son Jack and daughter Sheila.

SEE ALSO – Primary school places under pressure in Portlaoise as councillor calls for action over ‘serious shortage’

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. Husband of Emily, father of William, Lillian and John, he's happiest when he's telling stories