National Bravery Awards 2014
On Friday, 24th October 2014, the National Bravery Awards ceremony was held at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Award Recipients received their medals and certificates from the Ceann Comhairle, Mr. Seán Barrett, T.D.
In the week leading up to Tuesday 22nd October, 2013, a small child around 2 years old, climbed out of the window of his home without his mother’s knowledge and made his way to a main road in Carlow town beside a service station on Green Lane. As one car missed the little boy, Stephen Deery who was aged 21 at the time and was at the time performing a forecourt check, saw him and at great personal risk went onto the road. He was able to scoop the little child out of the path of a second car, which had to slam on the brakes to avoid the child. After rescuing the boy, Mr. Deery sat the toddler on a wall and helped locate the boy’s family.
There is no doubt but for the swift actions of Mr. Stephen Deery that the incident may have resulted in loss of life. Mr. Deery displayed considerable courage in the actions he took.
For his efforts
On the morning of 24th July, 2011 at approximately 6:10am, Denis O’Leary was driving through Farranfore when he saw a car in a grass margin with steam rising from the front of it. Mr. O’Leary stopped his car, went over to the other car and found a man trapped in the driver’s seat. There was a fire starting underneath the driver’s seat but the driver’s door would not open. The man was able to move himself to the front passenger side of the car where Mr. O’Leary was able to open the door and help him out of the car. With the help of an unknown delivery man who had stopped nearby Mr. O’Leary was able to bring the man away from the car that was soon completely engulfed in flames. The Garda Síochána and Fire Service arrived soon after. The driver suffered severe burns to his legs and would have burnt to death had Mr. O’Leary not rescued him.
There is no doubt but for the swift actions of Mr. Denis O’Leary that the incident may have resulted in loss of life. Mr. O’Leary displayed considerable courage in the actions he took. Without the swift actions of Mr. O’Leary the young man in question may well have perished.
For his efforts
Denis O’Leary is awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Garda Donal Callaghan & Garda Paul Oliphant
On the 31st January, 2013 at approx 17:40, an emergency “999” call was received at the Communications Room in Monaghan Garda Station from a caller reporting that a woman was drowning in Peter’s Lake just off Monaghan town centre. Garda Donal Callaghan who was on duty in the station immediately ran to the scene and talked to the caller who pointed out the area the witness believed he saw the woman in the lake. It was during the hours of darkness and visibility was very poor, but despite this Garda Callaghan without hesitation entered the water and swam to the area in question. He was able to locate the body of an unconscious female face down in the water and so he commenced towing this woman towards the shore. At this time, Garda Paul Oilphant had also arrived at the scene and after locating a Life-Buoy, waded into the water to assist Garda Callaghan in taking the woman ashore. On the shoreline, Garda Callaghan and Garda Oilphant commenced CPR and managed to resuscitate the woman who was soon after brought by ambulance to Cavan General Hospital where she later made a full recovery.
There is no doubt that but for the swift actions of Garda Donal Callaghan and Garda Paul Oilphant that the incident may have resulted in loss of life. The two members involved displayed considerable courage in the actions they took. Without the swift actions of both Gardai the young lady concerned may well have perished.
For their efforts
Garda Richard Pender
On the evening of 22nd July, 2009, Garda Richard Pender responded to a call in relation to a public order incident which occurred outside the Black Horse Public House, Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore, Dublin 8. He attended the scene along with five other Gardai. There were a large number of people outside the pub who appeared to be having an argument with a couple who were having a domestic dispute. The tempers of this large crowd were rather frayed and the situation appeared hostile. Garda Pender along with his colleagues spoke to several members of the crowd in an attempt to calm the situation when he was informed that a woman was drowning in the canal. He observed a female in the middle of the canal face down in the water and apparently unconscious. Garda Pender removed his utility belt, stab proof vest, radio and shoes and jumped into the water. He swam over the woman and then brought her to the bank of the canal where she was pulled from the water. At the same time, a second man had also jumped into the canal to assist in the rescue but he also ran into difficulties and began to shout that he was drowning. Garda Pender then re-entered the canal, swam over to the man and brought him to the bank of the canal. This person appeared uninjured and immediately left the area without being identified. It should also be said that a volatile crowd had gathered along the canal which made the scene very chaotic. A short time later an ambulance arrived, treated the woman initially at the scene and then brought her and Garda Pender to St. James’ Hospital where they both made complete recoveries.
There is no doubt that but for the swift actions of Garda Pender that the incident may have resulted in loss of life.
For his efforts
On the 24th August, 2012, Richard Galvin was at the beach with his wife and children when he became aware that there was a person in difficulty in the water some distance from shore. Mr. Galvin got a surf board and swam through the choppy water to reach the swimmer in difficulty. On reaching the swimmer, Mr. Galvin pulled him onto the surf board and managed to bring him back to the beach safely under difficult conditions. The Irish Coast Guard and rescue helicopter arrived on the scene shortly afterwards and the man was transported to hospital where he made a full recovery.
There is no doubt that but for the swift actions and quick thinking of Mr. Gavin this incident would have resulted in loss of life.
For his efforts
Garda Mark Irwin & Reserve Garda Stephen Corrigan
On 28th October, 2012, Garda Mark Irwin and Reserve Garda Stephen Corrigan were in a squad car in pursuit of another car that had been driving erratically on Bridge Street, Westport, Co. Mayo. It swerved on a number of occasions and narrowly avoided collided with parked cars. The driving was becoming extremely dangerous and the driver overtook a vehicle while going around a very dangerous bend and it was at this stage Garda Irwin made a decision to stop pursuing the vehicle for the safety of the general public. The vehicle soon afterwards veered off the road into Knappaghbeg Lake. Garda Irwin and Reserve Garda Corrigan immediately went to the scene to investigate, got out of their squad car and went into the lake as the car was on its roof and was submerged in the water. Although the driver was trapped in the vehicle the two Gardai managed to lift the driver’s head from under the water to an air pocket and keep him conscious until the fire brigade and ambulance arrived, which was approx twenty minutes later. The driver was subsequently freed from the car and transferred to Mayo General Hospital where he received treatment for his injuries.
Reserve Garda Stephen Corrigan and Garda Mark Irwin displayed considerable courage in entering the lake in freezing temperatures. Without their quick thinking and brave actions on the night it is possible that the driver of the car could have perished.
For their efforts
Reserve Garda Stephen Corrigan is awarded a Bronze Medal and Certificate of Bravery.
Garda Mark Irwin & Garda John Boyle
Around 4 am on 18th November, 2012, Garda John Boyle and Garda Mark Irwin, while patrolling the Westport Quay area, observed the rear red lights of a car at the edge of a pier. As they approached they noticed a male with his head in his hands beside the car which was actually hanging over the edge of the pier. Its engine was still running and lights left on and the driver’s door open. The man said that his friend who was the driver of the car had fallen into the sea below. The two Gardai went to the edge and saw a young man in the sea. It appeared that he had attempted to exit the car once it had crashed but had fallen 15 feet into the sea and was holding onto a lower ledge trying to keep his head above water. Both Gardai decided to make their way down to him via a fixed ladder and entered the sea. They then dragged the man from the sea and carefully brought him back up the ladder and onto dry ground. He was subsequently brought to Mayo General Hospital where he made a full recovery. The water was at high tide, approximately 20 feet deep and the temperature was freezing at the time of the incident.
There is no doubt that but for the swift actions of Garda Mark Irwin and Garda John Boyle that the incident may have resulted in loss of life. The two members involved displayed considerable courage in the actions they took. Without the swift actions of both Gardai the man concerned may well have perished.
For their efforts
On 29th June, 2012, Winnifred Roubians' children were playing with some other children outside her house when one of the children slipped and fell into a nearby river. Due to heavy rainfall, the river was swollen. The boy who could not swim was swept away and could not be seen from the small bridge over the river. Ms. Roubian's son came to the house to raise the alarm. Ms Roubians ran to the river and without hesitation or thought for her own life, jumped in and had to wade and swim a distance of over 200 metres before finding the child who was clinging to brambles along the side of the river and rescued him. The child was in shock and had taken in a great deal of water. Ms. Roubians pulled him from the water and carried him to a Garda car which had arrived at the scene.
There is no doubt that but for the swift actions of Ms. Roubians that the incident may have resulted in loss of life. Ms. Roubians displayed considerable courage in the actions she took. Without her swift actions, the young boy concerned may well have perished.
For her efforts
On 29th May, 2013, three men had to swim to Horse Island off Audley Cove near Ballydehob, Co. Cork after their small vessel sank. They tried to swim the 1.5 km to shore but because of swirling currents they couldn’t reach it and began to get into difficulties. Mark O’Mahony who was swimming near the shore heard the three men’s cries for help and after telling his wife to raise the alarm got into his kayak and despite a broken paddle, strong tides and gusting winds was able to reach one of the swimmers. Mr. O’Mahony got him to hold onto his kayak. Two lifeboats from Baltimore RNLI soon arrived and Mr. O’Mahony pointed them in the direction of the other two swimmers. The three men were brought to shore and then transferred by Irish Coastguard helicopter to Cork University Hospital.
There is no doubt that but for the courageous actions of Mr. Mark O’Mahony the incident may have resulted in loss of life. Mr. O’Mahony displayed considerable courage in the actions he took. Without his swift actions the three young men concerned may well have perished.
For his efforts
Garda Alan Gallagher
On 23rd October, 2012 at approx: 4.30 pm, Gardai from Donegal Town responded to a call of a house fire at The Mullans, Donegal Town. On arrival at the scene, there were a number of local people in the garden of the single storey semi-detached house. Smoke was emerging from under the roof of the house and flames had started to break through the upper end of the house to the right of the front door. On being told that there maybe a female in the house Garda Alan Gallagher and two other males started banging the windows to elicit a response. It eventually became apparent that there was someone in the lower bedroom to the left of the front door. The window of the bedroom was broken and Garda Gallagher entered the house via the window and carried out the sole occupant of the house. There was a considerable amount of smoke in the house at the time. Garda Gallagher was the only person to enter the house to affect the rescue. The Fire Service and Ambulance arrived soon after.
There is no doubt that but for the courageous actions of Garda Alan Gallagher that the incident may have resulted in loss of life. Garda Gallagher involved displayed considerable courage in the actions he took. Without the swift actions of Garda Gallagher the lady concerned may well have perished.
On the night of 2nd/3rd June, 2012, a car crashed through a barbed wire fence and then travelled down a 30 foot embankment coming to rest in the Crana River at Tullyarvan, Buncrana, Co. Donegal. Jason McClay who was walking nearby, came to investigate the noise and was informed that a vehicle had gone into the river. Mr. McClay (who was 19 years of age) ran over to the embankment and scaled down to the vehicle in the river (in complete darkness) disregarding his own personal safety where he assisted in bringing the four occupants to safety. There were three boys and one girl. They were all able to escape the vehicle with only minor injuries.
There is no doubt that but for the swift actions of Mr. McClay that the incident may have resulted in loss of lives.
Jason O’Farrell, Vincent McConnell & George Williams
On 27th March, 2012 at 11:25am, Jason O’Farrell was sitting and talking to Vincent McConnell (both taxi drivers) on Sir John Rogersons Quay, Dublin 2, when they witnessed a man jump into the River Liffey in an attempt to take his own life. Mr. Farrell entered the river and swam to the victim who was unconscious and appeared to have stopped breathing. Mr. McConnell threw a nearby life buoy to Mr. Farrell to assist him with the rescue. Mr. O’Farrell administered CPR while in the water. The victim was very heavy (it was later discovered that the victim was carrying a rucksack filled with heavy items) and Mr. Farrell was unable to lift him up the metal ladder on the side wall of the river. Mr. McConnell towed both men to the concrete steps outside State Street Bank where with the assistance of George Williams, who was also a taxi driver who had witnessed the incident, assisted in helping them up the steps. Mr. O’Farrell continued to give CPR to the victim until the Dublin Fire Brigade arrived.
Mr. O’Farrell displayed exceptional courage and bravery when he jumped into the Liffey to rescue the victim who clearly looked to take his own life. Although Mr. McConnell’s name wasn’t initially put forward for an award he also played a significant part in the rescue. While Mr. Williams’ name was also not initially put forward for an award it is recommended that he also should be considered for the part he played in the rescue.
For their efforts
Vincent McConnell is awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
George Williams is awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
(Both Vincent McConnell and George Williams were unable to attend. They later received their awards)
On 15th August, 2002, Derek Allen (who was 18 at the time) and his father were enjoying a day out at Bettystown Beach, Co. Meath, when a twelve year old girl, who was swimming in a rubber ring, got into difficulties and drifted out to sea. Despite the fact that Derek was at the other end of a packed beach, he raced into the water and swam for fifteen minutes until he reached the girl. His father followed and assisted Derek in bringing the girl back safely to the shore. The girl was reported as being cold and frightened but otherwise well.
There is no doubt but for the swift actions of Derek Allen, the incident may have resulted in loss of life. Mr. Allen displayed considerable courage in the actions he took.
For his efforts
On 14th October, 2012, Padraig O’Neill and his family were travelling in his van when a tourist car collided with him and caught fire on impact. Having secured the safety of his family and contacting the emergency services, he ran to the tourist car and removed a female passenger to safety. He then returned to the driver’s door and realised that the driver was trapped in the car. At this point, the bonnet of the car was engulfed in flames and the fire was progressing rapidly. Mr. O’Neill pulled the top part of the door open and broke the glass. As he was attempting to rescue the driver, Mr. O’Neill now realised that the man’s leg was trapped underneath the driving pedal. Mr. O’Neill reached in and bent the pedal using his full strength which aided the driver to release his leg and be taken from the car. Both the van and car were now on fire.
There is no doubt but for the swift actions of Mr. Padraig O’Neill that the incident may have resulted in loss of life. Mr. O’Neill displayed considerable courage in the actions he took.
For his efforts
Brian O’Sullivan & Katie O’Neill
On the evening of 21st July, 2013, Brian O’Sullivan (who was 15 at the time) was at Wicklow Pier with some friends when he saw a man who was with two children struggling in the water. The two children were crying so Mr. O’Sullivan jumped into the water, swam over to the man who was now floating face down and proceeded to hold the man’s head above the water. Katie O’Neill who was a lifeguard attached to Wicklow Town Council was on duty at the time had also become aware of the situation and she also entered the water and started to swim towards Mr. O’Sullivan’s position. There were a lot of kayaks in the water at the time and the two children managed to get on to one of them. Ms. O’Neill took over the rescue from Mr. O’Sullivan. She brought the man who had been in difficulties onto another kayak and attempted to resuscitate him. The kayak was brought to the shore where two nurses who were nearby took over while Ms. O’Neill contacted the ambulance service. Subsequently, the man was brought to Tallaght Hospital where unfortunately he passed away the following day.
Brian O’Sullivan acted on instinct and did what he could within the limits of his ability, despite the fact that there were 200 people present. He was the one who took action rather than remain an onlooker. Katie O’Neill is also worthy of commendation and acted calmly and with authority bringing her skills to bear on the situation. Where it not for the actions of these two people, this incident could have resulted in loss of life.
For their efforts