National Bravery Awards 2012

On Friday, 16th November 2012, the National Bravery Awards ceremony was held in t he Ballroom of Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park. Award Recipients received their medals and certificates from the Ceann Comhairle, Mr. Seán Barrett, T.D. Members of the National Bravery Council who attended the ceremony were the Cathaoirleach, Senator Paddy Burke; the Chairman of the Irish Red Cross, Mr. David O'Callaghan; the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise O'Muirí; President of the Association of County and City Councils, Councillor Hilary Quinlan, and the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, Mr. Martin Callinan

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

Click here to view the 2012 photos 

Garda Shaun Brosnan, Garda John Hennessy, Garda Mary Lonergan and Noel Wall

At 11.00 pm on the 4th November 2010, Noel and Mary Wall were disturbed by a caller to their home near Clonmel. The caller alerted them to the fact that a neighbouring house was on fire. Mary contacted the emergency services while Noel went to the burning house. There, with a neighbour, he heard coughing and a muffled response coming from one of the back bedrooms.

Gardaí John Hennessy, Shaun Brosnan and Mary Lonergan from Clonmel Station arrived at the scene to discover that the front of the house was engulfed in flames and smoke was billowing from the house. They were informed that there was a person in the house and Garda Hennessy decided to enter the house via a rear window with the help of Garda Brosnan. The conditions were extremely difficult for Garda Hennessy. He found the bedroom was completely filled with smoke and he had little or no visibility. In addition, the room was very hot, with ash falling from the ceiling and he had difficulty breathing. He continued until he found the man who was slumped, unconscious, by the side of his bed. Garda Hennessy was forced to leave the house to get some air but returned with Garda Brosnan to the aid of the man. By now, the conditions inside the house had significantly deteriorated with flames spreading into the room and there was no visibility. The two Gardaí managed to locate the man and carry him to the window where Garda Lonergan and Noel Wall were waiting to assist in getting him to safety. As Garda Hennessy and Garda Brosnan were leaving the house a portion of the ceiling fell in.

Garda John Hennessy and Garda Shaun Brosnan, without fear for their personal safety and with great courage put their own lives in danger to rescue a man from his burning home. The assistance of Garda Mary Lonergan and Noel Wall certainly added to the positive outcome of this incident.

For their efforts:

Garda John Hennessy is awarded a Silver Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Garda Shaun Brosnan is awarded a Silver Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Garda Mary Lonergan is awarded a Certificate of Bravery

Noel Wall is awarded a Certificate of Bravery

Garda James Conneely, Garda Trevor Keating and Rory O’Connor

On 9th September, 2009 an individual came to the attention of the Gardai in Sligo Town where he was wandering around in a confused and incoherent state. Gardai observed the man making his way across a footbridge of the Garavogue River and jumping into the river. The Gardai came to his assistance by throwing him ring buoys that he made no effort to grab.

The man was swiftly swept down the river by the strong current and it was estimated that he would have been swept out to sea within minutes. Garda Trevor Keating entered the river and attempted to rescue this person, but because of the strong current was unable to reach him. Garda Keating got out of the river and made his way by foot along the river bank. Further down the river Garda James Conneely along with Mr. Rory O’Connor, a trained life guard, entered the river in a small boat they had untied by the rivers’ edge. With only one oar, Garda Conneely successfully rowed the boat to the middle of the river where he and Mr. O’Connor successfully intercepted the person, who was at this stage unconscious and face down in the water. Mr. O’Connor applied CPR while Garda Conneely tried to row the boat to safety which was proving to be impossible due to the lack of a second oar and the ferocious current that was raging. At this stage, Garda Keating re-entered the water, grabbed the boat and assisted Garda Conneely in getting the boat ashore, where he too assisted with the CPR.

The individual was taken by the emergency services to Sligo General Hospital where he made a full recovery.

Garda Keating, Garda Conneely and Mr. O’Connor displayed exceptional courage in entering the water to save this person. But for their efforts there is little doubt that this incident could have resulted in a far more serious outcome.

For their efforts:

Garda Trevor Keating is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Garda James Conneely is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Rory O’Connor is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Frank McManamon and Pearse Ward

In the early hours of 28th June 2009, a woman was at the Central Bank Plaza on Dublin’s Dame Street when she was approached by a man seeking a cigarette. This man appeared to be under the influence of drink or drugs. He started to aggressively scream and kick at the woman.

Friends, Pearse Ward and Frank McManamon noticed the fracas and approached the woman to enquire on her safety. They also approached the man asking him to leave her alone. The man walked away but within moments both men heard a bottle being broken and saw the man coming towards them in an aggressive manner. The attacker struck Pearse Ward in the face with the broken bottle resulting in serious facial injuries. Mr. McManamon tackled the individual from behind and a violent struggle ensued. Both men managed to restrain the individual until the Gardai arrived but not before Mr. McManamon was also injured.

But for the actions of Pearse Ward and Frank McManamon, who displayed exceptional courage, the woman could have suffered a worse fate. This incident involved considerable personal risk to men.

For their efforts:

Pearse Ward is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Frank McManamon is awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery


Martin Whitmore

On 19th April 2011, off duty paramedic Martin Whitmore was at The Quay in Graiguenamanagh, County Kilkenny where he noticed a car been driven towards the slipway of the River Barrow. At that time the river’s water level was high as there had been heavy rain some time previously. Mr. Whitmore heard the engine revving before he witnessed the car being driven at speed towards the slipway and entering the water.

The car was rapidly sinking and Mr. Whitmore immediately jumped into the water from the river wall, swimming to the car. He was able to open the car door and tried to remove the occupant from the car but she was holding fast to the steering wheel. At this point the car, the occupant and Mr. Whitmore were underwater, making the rescue more difficult.

Due to the period of time that lapsed and his difficulty in getting the occupant out of the car, Mr. Whitmore had to return to the surface of the water. He then dived back underwater, found the car and successfully pulled the woman clear of the car and to the surface. He managed to swim the woman to the river bank where he used his paramedic skills to treat her.

But for the efforts of Martin Whitmore there is little doubt that this incident could have resulted in a far more serious way.

For his efforts:

Martin Whitmore is awarded a Silver Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Garda Tommy Fay, Garda Thomas McKenna and Sean Sharkey

On the evening of 20th March 2011, Garda Tom McKenna and Garda Tommy Fay responded to a call at Lough Ramor, on the Lakeside Manor area of Virginia, County Cavan. On arrival at the scene they noticed an unmanned motor boat that was powered and on the lake. The two Gardai spoke with a young boy and a man who informed them that his 14 year old son had fallen from his boat and that he was in the water. In the distance, Garda McKenna could see the teen’s head bobbing in the water. Garda McKenna felt that the teenager’s life was in real danger and he entered the water. He swam in extremely cold and treacherous conditions out the 300 yards. 

In the meantime Garda Tommy Fay located a boat and with two local men, one of them being Sean Sharkey, rowed out to Garda McKenna’s assistance. They managed to get the distressed youth on board the boat and returned him to shore where the paramedics were waiting. 

There is no doubt that if it was not for the bravery of Garda Tom McKenna assisted by Garda Tommy Fay and Sean Sharkey this incident may have resulted in a terrible tragedy. 

For their efforts: 

Garda Tom McKenna is awarded a Silver Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Garda Tommy Fay is awarded a Certificate of Bravery

Sean Sharkey is awarded a Certificate of Bravery

Eric Grundy and Gareth Nathan

Shortly before midnight on the 18th December 2011 Gardai at Pearse Street Garda Station were alerted that a person had jumped into the Grand Canal Basin at Hanover Quay. When two Gardai arrived at the Grand Canal Basin they witnessed Eric Grundy and Gareth Nathan together with two other passers-by rescuing a woman from the water.

Eric Grundy and Gareth Nathan, who are amateur photographers, were out on a night shoot when they noticed that a woman had entered the water. The woman remained unresponsive to the calls of Eric Grundy while Gareth Nathan approached the occupants of a van parked close by seeking out anything to assist in getting the woman out of the water. In the meantime Eric Grundy jumped into the deep water as the woman was getting more submerged in the water. He swam to the woman and managed to put his arms under her and swam with her back towards the quayside. On reaching the quayside he was unable to get the woman out of the water so swam to a nearby boat where he held himself and the woman tight to a rope. Gareth Nathan and another person returned to the quayside and threw a lifebuoy to Eric Grundy. Eric managed to get the lifebuoy under the woman and swam her back to the quayside where Mr. Nathan assisted in getting her out of the cold December water. Both Mr. Grundy and the woman were admitted to hospital suffering from hypothermia.

There is little doubt but for the swift actions of Eric Grundy and Gareth Nathan the incident in question could have resulted in the loss of life. In particular, Eric Grundy put his own life at risk and displayed exceptional courage in the actions he took.

For their efforts:

Eric Grundy is awarded a Silver Medal and a Certificate of Bravery

Gareth Nathan is awarded a Certificate of Bravery