National Bravery Awards 2011

On Friday, 25 November the 2011 a National Bravery Awards ceremony was held in the Ballroom of Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park.  Award recipients received their medals and certificates from the Ceann Comhairle, Mr Seán Barrett, T.D.  Also on the dais was the Cathaoirleach, Senator Paddy Burke and representing the Garda Commissioner was Deputy Commissioner Nacie Rice

The MC for the ceremony was the Head of Communications at the Houses of the Oireachtas, Mark Mulqueen and music was provided by members of the Garda Band.

Click here to view photos from the 2011 ceremony

Address by An Cheann Comhairle 

Press Release 


 On Christmas Night 2001 Padraig Sheahan heard a woman screaming for help outside his house.  This woman was being dragged along the road by a male who was in possession of a knife and threatening the woman with the knife.  Neither person was known to Padraig.  Padraig intervened and confronted the attacker while the woman made her escape into Padraig’s house.   The attacker then smashed the front window of Padraig’s house to gain access but was prevented by Padraig.  Padraig managed to subdue the man until the emergency services arrived.  Padraig received cuts to his face and arms and a fractured nose. 
Padraig Sheehan put himself in grave danger by confronting this attacker.  There is no doubt that this incident could have had a more serious outcome.


For his efforts:

Padraig Sheahan is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery


On the 7th August 2004, the Gardaí responded to an emergency call where a woman had entered the water at Doorly Park, Sligo.

The condition of the water at the time was dark and its depth was not discernible however the woman’s body could be seen in the water.  Detective Garda Cullen entered nonetheless and managed to retrieve the woman.  By this time, Garda Mark Keogh and Garda Dermot O’Connell arrived at the scene and both entered the water to assist in the rescue.  The lady was safely brought to shore and was treated in hospital where she made a full recovery.

Mark Keogh, a former member of An Garda Síochána, is honoured today for his role in this rescue.  His former colleagues have previously received their awards.

For his efforts:

Mark Keogh is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery.

This award will be accepted on Marks behalf by his father JP Keogh.

JP Keogh receives a bronze National Bravery Award on behalf of his son Mark Keogh


On St. Patrick’s Day 2003, Garda Margaret Purcell responded to an emergency call where a woman had entered the water at Cappa Pier, Kilrush, County Clare.  On arrival at the scene, and without due regard for her own safety, Garda Purcell entered the water and found a woman lying face down.  With the assistance of a member of the public Garda Purcell was able to bring this woman to safety and she later made a full recovery in hospital.

The selfless efforts of Garda Purcell led in no small way to the saving of this person’s life.

For her efforts:

Garda Margaret Purcell is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda Margaret Purcell receives her National Bravery Award


On 8th March 2009 a car ferry was crossing between Passage West and Carrigloe on the River Lee.  As it approached Carrigloe Terminal the first car on the ferry suddenly drove forward on to the ramp and drove into the  river.  There were two men in the car. 

At this time John Geary was sitting in the kitchen of his home when he observed through a window a commotion on the river.   He suspected there was someone in the water.  Without regard for his own safety, he rushed out and launched a small dinghy.  He noticed someone in difficulties in the water and rowed over to him.  When John reached the man, he could see that he was in a state of panic.  He calmed the man down, manoeuvred him to the stern of the dingy and persuaded him to hang on while he rowed the boat ashore to where the emergency services took command of the situation.  John then went back out to search for the second man who was still in the water.  Unfortunately, despite an extensive search carried out by Navy, RNLI and fishing boats in the area this second person was never found.
 
Mr. Geary displayed exceptional courage and quick thinking when he rushed into the water to rescue the occupants of the car.  Unfortunately all efforts to save the second occupant of the car failed but if not for Mr. Geary’s quick actions there may have been a second fatality.

For his efforts:

John Geary is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

John Geary receives his National Bravery Award


Mary Donaghy receives a posthumous National Bravery Award on behalf of her son, Anthony


In the early hours of 22nd May, 1995, Anthony Donaghy, now deceased,  made a call to the Dungloe Fire Brigade reporting a fire on board the fishing vessel Niamh Aine and that he suspected there was crew onboard.
 
Dungloe Fire Service arrived on the scene within 11 minutes. At which time the fishing vessel was on fire with flames shooting about 15 feet into the sky.  Entry was impossible from the wheelhouse and galley areas due to the intensity of the flames and smoke.  It was decided that a 2 man Breathing Apparatus team, consisting of Fire Fighters, Brendan Greene and Patrick Boyle, would try to carry out a search of the vessel.  The team’s task was made extremely difficult by the strong wind and thick smoke.  However, after several attempts they entered the last hatch where they found two fishermen. 

By this time Gweedore Fire Brigade had arrived on the scene and they assisted the team by helping to contain the fire and assist with the rescue.  The two-man team were able to drag the first casualty out of the escape hatch onto the shelter deck and then up the final hatch onto the deck at the stern of the fishing vessel.  They then courageously returned and carried out the same procedure on the second casualty. 

Both Brendan Greene and Patrick Boyle without fear for their personal safety put their own lives in danger to rescue the crew of the Niamh Aine.  Due to the quick actions of Anthony Donaghy in raising the alarm the emergency services were able to rescue the crew without any loss of life.

For their efforts:

Anthony Donaghy RIP is posthumously awarded a Certificate of Bravery which will be presented today to his mother, Mary Donaghy

Brendan Greene and Patrick Boyle

Brendan Greene is awarded a Silver Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Patrick Boyle is awarded a Silver Medal and a Certificate of Bravery


In the early hours of 24th December, 2007, Stephen O'Neill witnessed a man jumping into the River Liffey from the Boardwalk on Bachelors Walk.  He saw a man in the river hanging  from the beams under the boardwalk.  Stephen threw a lifebuoy it to this person who tried in vain to swim to the buoy.  When the man went under the water for a second time Stephen jumped in and grabbed hold of him.  At this stage this person pulled them both under the water but Stephen managed to place the life ring over the victim.  Meanwhile, another life buoy was thrown to the man and he had also taken hold of this.  Additional help arrived and the person was brought safely from the water and Stephen climbed out from the river.

There is little doubt but that for the swift actions of Stephen O'Neill the incident in question could have resulted in the loss of life.  Stephen put his own life at risk and displayed exceptional courage in the actions he took.


For his efforts:

Stephen O’Neill is awarded a Silver Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Stephen O'Neill receives his National Bravery Award


On 17th July, 2002 Garda Linda O’Donnell, who was off-duty at the time, was walking with her family at Ashe Quay, Fermoy, County Cork.  She was approached by a man and woman who informed her that a woman had jumped into the river. 

Garda O’Donnell climbed over the river wall, swam out to the woman and brought her to safety with the help of her husband.

But for the efforts of Garda O’Donnell there is little doubt that this incident could have resulted in a far more serious way.

For her efforts:

Garda Linda O’Donnell is awarded a Silver Medal and a Certificate of Bravery.

Garda Linda O'Donnell receives her National Bravery Award



On the 21st November 2004, former Garda Sergeant Con Horan and three Garda colleagues responded to a report that a young man had entered the River Shannon at Clancy Strand, Limerick.  When the young man was located at the scene one of the Gardaí threw a life buoy to him but he was unresponsive.  Despite strong currents on the river Con Horan swam out to the young man and with the assistance of his colleague brought the young man to safety at the rivers edge.  Former Sergeant Horan administered CPR and First Aid to the man who after treatment later made a full recovery in hospital.

There is little doubt but for the brave actions of Con Horan this young man could have died.  Mr. Horan is honoured here today.  His former colleagues have previously received their awards

For his efforts:

Con Horan is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery.

Con Horan receives his National Bravery Award


On the evening of 8th July, 2009 two boys, Shane Clarke and Benas Vaitkunas, got into difficulties when a raft they were on capsized on Swellen Lake, County Cavan and floated away.  Benas could not swim and started to panic.  Shane grabbed him with one arm and talked to him, but Benas kept struggling.  Meanwhile, Daniel Ivers noticed what had happened and entered the lake.  He swam to the boys and noticed that Shane was unconscious under the water.  Daniel took hold of Shane and brought him to the waters edge.  Alimzhan Nabiulin, who lived nearby ran towards the lake.  He saw Daniel bringing Shane onto the side of the lake.  He then saw Benas in the lake and entered the water.  Upon reaching Benas he realised that he was also unconscious and brought him to the lake’s edge.  He handed Benas to two other men who were passing by, as Benas was starting to regain consciousness.  Alimzhan went and assisted Daniel in administering CPR to Shane.  The two boys were then brought to hospital where they recovered. 

There is no doubt that Shane Clarke, Daniel Ivers and Alimzhan Nabiulin displayed considerable courage in the actions they took.  Each individual in their own way contributed to the saving of the lives of two young men.

For their efforts:

Daniel Ivers is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Alimzhan Nabiulin is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Shane Clarke is awarded a Certificate of Bravery

Shane Clarke, Daniel Ivers and Alimzhan Nabiulun (l to r) receive their National Bravery Awards


At 8.30 pm on the 6th July, 2008, a man entered the Avoca River at the Riverwalk, in Arklow, County Wicklow. The river was swollen and fast flowing following three days of heavy rain. Despite this, Richard Coates entered the river and swam to where the individual was.  Richard then brought him to a raised bank where both could stand waist deep in the water. The rescued individual tried to break free from Mr. Coates and return to the water. It was not possible for both men to wade back to shore and the life belt on the riverbank was unable to reach them. At this time, Sergeant Gabriel Plower, Arklow Garda Station, dived into the water and swam out to where the two men were stranded and he brought the victim back to shore.


There is no doubt that but for the swift actions of Richard Coates and Sergeant Plower that this incident may have resulted in the loss of life.


For their efforts:

Richard Coates is awarded a Bronze Medal and Certificate of Bravery

Sergeant Gabriel Plower is awarded a Bronze Medal and Certificate of Bravery

Richard Coates and Sgt. Gabriel Plower receive their bronze National Bravery Awards


On the 2nd August, 2010 Justin Sheerin entered the River Shannon at Honan’s Quay, Limerick  to rescue a friend who was in difficulties.  Justin was able to hold on to his friend until help arrived.  At the time the river was at high tide, fast flowing and the currents were very strong. 

There is no doubt but for the swift actions of Justin this incident may have resulted in the loss of a life.  Justin displayed exceptional courage and put his own life at risk by jumping into the river and pulling his friend to safety. 

For his efforts: 

Justin Sheerin is awarded a Certificate of Bravery

Justin Sheerin receives his National Bravery Award


On Friday, 2nd April 2010, Garda Eileen Murphy and Garda Kevin Mooney were on duty in Mullingar when they were informed by a colleague from Mullingar Garda Station that a call was received from a person in a distressed state on the Dublin Bridge.

When they arrived there they were unable to locate the individual.  So they searched the area and eventually found a man on his back in the canal.   A struggle ensued and with assistance Garda Mooney and Garda Murphy managed to bring the victim to the bank of the canal.

Garda Kevin Mooney and Garda Eileen Murphy displayed exceptional courage in entering the water to save this person.

For their efforts:

Garda Kevin Mooney is awarded a Certificate of Bravery

Garda Eileen Murphy is awarded a Certificate of Bravery

Garda Eileen Murphy and Garda Kevin Mooney receive their National Bravery Awards