The Junior School Warden service is designed to provide safe crossing facilities in the vicinity of primary schools in provincial towns and villages where a 50km/h speed limit applies adjacent to the school. The Junior School Warden scheme has been operating in Ireland since 1969. Its continued success is due to the dedication, hard work, and co-operation of all involved in its implementation, including Garda trainers, school principals, local authorities, and most importantly, the pupils themselves.
This initiative was set up by An Garda Síochána in partnership with Scoil Mhuire agus Treasa Swinford, with the principal Marian Thornburgh, and Mayo County Council. The Junior Warden scheme has been set up to address a much needed service by 10-12 year olds who will provide a safe crossing for fellow students. It is aimed at encouraging young people to take ownership of their surroundings and become more responsible and involved in making their community a safer and cleaner place in which to live.
Commenting on the introduction of the scheme, County Councillor Michael Smyth said: "We are delighted to be introducing this innovative scheme in the Swinford area and we are optimistic that it will be well received by the young people and the residents of the area. The Junior Warden scheme is being established to provide constructive activities for local young people that will benefit the community whilst encouraging a sense of civic responsibility and pride. As well as contributing to a cleaner and safer environment the scheme will enable the young people to meet new friends, develop new skills, and ultimately be safe."
Noel Gibbons, road safety officer, said that all junior wardens have undergone a induction programme, provided by An Garda Síochána delivered by Sergeant Richard Taheny and Garda Conor Drury, who worked with the young students over many weeks and developed a great relationship with the young students, show casing community policing at its best.
Area engineer Declan Ginnelly said: “Each of these pupils is doing a superb job in ensuring that their fellow students are kept safe crossing our roads before and after school each day. We are aware of and very grateful for the excellent commitment given by each of these pupils and we hope that others can follow their example. We would like to see more schools getting involved in this scheme."