The Chris Crossing

Pictured: Some of the members in practice around the Poolbeg Lighthouse.

Pictured: Some of the members in practice around the Poolbeg Lighthouse.

In late May or early June, twelve members of An Garda Síochána from Store Street will row approximately 58 nautical miles from Holyhead to Dublin Port in a fundraising challenge called The Chris Crossing to raise funds for the National Neurosurgical Centre at Beaumont Hospital.

The event is in memory of Ringsend man, the late Chris Byrne. The thirty-one year old husband of their Garda colleague and son of ex-League of Ireland footballer, Jodie Byrne, sadly passed away in March of this year as a result of a brain tumour. Chris’s brother, Eugene, will join the Gardaí in the venture.

All twelve Gardaí are novice rowers. They have been committed to a strenuous training regime since November 2015 in preparation for the crossing, which is expected to take between 12 to 15 hours.

The start date will not be decided until they can confirm a 72-hour weather window but they hope to set off around the first week of June. The rowers will be accompanied by a 41-foot yacht and two ribs which will provide backup.

On the trip they will row in relay teams, four rowers and a cox each hour. Team members will get one or two hour breaks, to eat and stretch, but won’t have much time to get any sleep until the challenge is complete.

Stella Maris Rowing Club have been assisting the team who are using the clubhouse and equipment in preparation for this exciting challenge. They have also availed of the rowing expertise and training from senior members of the club.

Speaking to NewsFour on May 19th, Garda Mark Maloney said that the team are well prepared at this point. Fundraising is going well.

Readers may have seen the team and their celebrity supporters using static rowing machines and collecting for the cause on Grafton Street, Henry Street or at the Aviva Stadium Ireland-Holland game on May 21st. The public response has been very positive and they are on well the way to achieving their €50,000 target.

Brain and central nervous system tumours can strike anyone at any time and have a younger age-profile than many common cancers, ending with many tragically early deaths. Survival rates for patients with malignant brain cancer are poor, at 19% over a five-year period. Patients with neuro conditions from all over Ireland attend the National Neurosurgical Centre at Beaumont Hospital to access the expertise of its eleven neurosurgeons.

If you would like to donate to this very worthy cause there are a number of ways to do so. Go to: or Text donations of €4 can given by texting ‘Beaumont’ to 50300.

By Jennifer Reddin