Citations from the 27th Annual Report of Comhairle na Míre Gaile, for the year ended 31st December, 1973
Bruce Morrison, Clontarf, Dublin 3 and Patrick Corcoran, Bray. Co. Wicklow
On 16th September, 1970, two men were flying a plane at low altitude over the E.S.B. Lake at Weston, Lucan, shooting scenes for a film. The plane struck an electricity cable and crashed into Lake Weston. Bruce Morrison and Patrick Corcoran saw the occurrence and went to the river bank. The aircraft was afloat and the two occupants were standing on it. Patrick Corcoran tied a rope to his waist and he and Bruce Morrison entered the water and swam to the plane. One of the men started swimming to the far bank but he was weighed down with filming equipment and became submerged. Bruce Morrison brought him to the bank. He then swam back to the plane and helped Patrick Corcoran in bringing the other man to the bank. A helicopter then arrived and hovered overhead. The thrust of the helicopter forced Mr. Morrison and Mr. Corcoran underwater but they were helped out of the water and to safety.
Bruce Morrison and Patrick Corcoran were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
David Coen, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
At 3.30 pm on 4th August, 1969, three men got into difficulties while bathing at Ichydoney beach, Clonakilty. There was a strong wind and a rough sea on the day. Two of the men managed to get ashore themselves but, despite their best efforts, the third man was carried out to sea. David Coen, the lifeguard on duty, was told of the man’s plight and he swam out. When he reached the man, he was about 300 yards from the shore. Mr. Coen turned him onto his back and pulled him back to shore. The man was taken to hospital where he recovered.
David Coen was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Garda Edmund Finucane, Rathmines Garda Station, Dublin 6
At 12.40am on 27th November, 1971, three Gardaí arrived at Baggot Street Bridge where it was reported a man had fallen into the Grand Canal. They carried out a search of the canal but could not find anything. Garda Finucane arrived on the scene and after a short time the body of a man was seen lying on the bottom of the canal in about 12 feet of water. Garda Finucane jumped into the water and brought the body to the bank. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was attempted but was unsuccessful.
David Coen was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Denis McCarthy and John Cronin, Ovens, Co. Cork
At 5.00pm on 19th March, 1972, Denis McCarthy, John Cronin and another man drove to a gravel pit at Classis, Ovens, on motor cycles. The area of the pit is about 100 acres and there are four lakes in the pit, each about 3 acres. They proceeded to scramble about the rough surface of the pit. The third man was driving across the ford which connects the second and third lakes when his machine stalled. There was about 3 feet of water at this point, but to the left and right it was very deep and there was a strong current. The current forced the man and his cycle into the water. Both McCarthy and Cronin dived into the water. McCarthy tried to locate the man but was struggling in the current and got into difficulties. Cronin had also been searching for the man and when he saw McCarthy was in difficulties he went to help him. He tried to bring him ashore but he lost his grip and McCarthy went down. Cronin had to be helped out of the water by some men on the bank.
Denis McCarthy and John Cronin were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Garda Patrick O’Sullivan, Tramore Garda Station, Co. Waterford
On the evening of 10th August, 1971, two men were walking home when one of them ran towards the sea and entered the water at Tramore. Garda O’Sullivan saw the other man enter the water in search of his friend. He soon emerged, very distressed, and believing that his friend had drowned. Garda O’Sullivan swam out about 35 yards and found the man. He was drifting out to sea and apparently unconscious. He managed to pull him to the shallows. The man was removed to hospital where he was detained for some weeks.
Garda Patrick O’Sullivan was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Patrick Murphy, Martin Niland and Sergeant Desmond O’Kelly, Kilkelly, Co. Mayo
On 7th March, 1972, a fire broke out in a Garda’s house in Kilkelly while the Garda was on duty. His wife and a neighbour were in the sitting room and the three children were in bed. The woman of the house ran next door to Mr. Niland. Patrick Murphy was in Mr. Niland’s house at the time and he rushed into the burning house. The house was blazing by this time and the heat was intense. Murphy and Niland rescued two of the children, a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy. They returned upstairs to search for the baby but were overcome with fumes and had to abandon their search. Mr. Murphy left to get the fire brigade trailer while Mr. Niland placed a ladder against the house. Sergeant O’Kelly arrived at this time and he climbed and ladder and tried to enter. He was overcome and had to descend. He tried again, this time with a wet towel around his face, and this time he got in. He managed to locate the baby’s carrycot and hand it to people outside but, unfortunately, the baby was found to be dead.
Patrick Murphy, Martin Niland and Sergeant Desmond O’Kelly were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Garda Thomas McGrath, Timoleague Garda Station, Cork
Garda Thomas McGrath was on duty at Courtmacsherry when cries for help drew his attention to the edge of the pier. He was informed that a child had fallen into the sea. Garda McGrath jumped into the sea, swam under an old broken jetty, dived, and recovered the child.
Garda Thomas McGrath was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Michael McLoughlin, Rosses Point, Sligo and Alan Murray, Cartron Hill, Sligo
On 8th July, 1972, a 24-year-old man was lobster fishing in Sligo Bay in his new boat the ‘St. Brendan’ with his brother, aged 27 years and a boy, aged 14 years. At about 3pm, when some 250 yards off Black Rock Lighthouse, the boat was capsized by a freak wave. The three men managed to scramble ashore at the base of the lighthouse and anchor the damaged boat. It was not until 6.30pm that they were rescued by Michael McLoughlin in the fisherman’s other boat, the ‘Avena’. Mr. McLoughlin showed great courage in navigating the treacherous reefs to rescue the three men. Shortly after midnight on 9th July, 1972, a party of six men, including Michael McLoughlin, left the pier in the ‘Avena’ in an attempt to repair the ‘St. Brendan’. On the way, the bat was capsized by a huge wave. Only three of the men managed to cling onto the upturned boat. Michael McLoughlin was pulled onto the boat by one of these three men but he was washed away. They managed to manoeuvre the boat to the lighthouse. Flares were fired and sighted by the cabin cruiser ‘Chumvi’. From this cruiser, Alan Murray rowed a dinghy 300 yards through rough seas to rescue the three men.
Michael McLoughlin and Alan Murray were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Robert and Lily Petrie and Michael Burke, Ballina, Co. Mayo
At approximately 8.00am on 23rd July, 1972, a 70-year-old woman went, unknown to her family, to well on her farmyard for water. She did not return and was missed at about 11.00am. A search was carried out by her two sons, one of which was Robert Petrie, and the other son’s wife, Lily. She was spotted in the well and when her son went down to get her, he was overcome by gas and rendered unconscious. Robert Petrie went to get help. Lily Petrie went into the well while he was away and she was also rendered unconscious. Ladders and ropes were obtained and Robert Petrie entered the well on three separate occasions to tie the ropes around the victims and have them hauled to safety. Michael Burke also entered the well and assisted in securing ropes to the victims.
Robert Petrie, Lily Petrie and Michael Burke were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Patrick Mullen, Kilronan, Aran Islands
On 27th November, 1972, two fishing boats, the ‘Ard-Aluinn’ and ‘Fragrant Cloud’, were fishing for herring off Baginbun, Co. Wexford. At about 1.30am a crew member of the ‘Ard-Aluinn’ got a rope which was attached to the nets tangled in one of his legs. He jumped overboard with it to avoid injury. He was a non-swimmer and the sea was very rough. Patrick Mullen was a crew member on the ‘Fragrant Cloud’ and when the alarm was raised, he jumped into the sea and swam to the drowning man. He dived underwater when he saw the man sink but unfortunately he failed to save the man.
Patrick Mullen was awarded a Bronze Medal.
James Phelan, Fermoy, Co. Cork
At about 8pm on 22nd November, 1972, a man was observed in the River Blackwater at Fermoy Bridge. On being informed, Mr. James Phelan immediately went to the scene. He lowered himself approximately 20 feet by means of a chain to where the drowning man was and held him until the arrival of the Fire Brigade who, with James Phelan’s assistance, rescued the man.
James Phelan was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Michael O’Shea and Patrick O’Dowd, Tralee, Co. Kerry
On 12th January, 1973, an 80-year-old invalid was ill in bed in her home. Her daughter entered the room to turn off a gas heater but failed as the top of the gas cylinder became stuck. She called her father who also failed. As he removed the cylinder from the room it caught fire. The daughter left by the back door to get help. The mother went to the back kitchen. Meanwhile, the father threw a blanket on the cylinder and returned to his wife’s bedroom where he was trapped in dense smoke. Patrick O’Dowd was first on the scene and he managed to find the mother and lift her outside. Michael O’Shea could hear the father calling for help and he broke the glass of the front window and got in. Although he was almost overcome by smoke he managed to reach the father and bring him outside. The mother and the father subsequently died.
Michael O’Shea and Patrick O’Dowd were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Noel Stokes, Donnybrook, Dublin and Marie McKenna, Crumlin, Dublin
On 8th February, 1973, a 25-year-old man was seen to disappear over the quay wall into the River Liffey at Arran Quay. Noel Stokes and Marie McKenna, who were travelling in separate buses, dived into the water. Mr. Stokes got within 2 yards of the man before he went under. Mr. Stokes dived about 3 times in an effort to locate the man. Both he and Miss McKenna remained in the water for a short time in the hop that the man might resurface. On tiring they decided to return to the steps. Miss McKenna was able to get out of the water but Mr. Stokes was unable to do so and required a lifebuoy to get to the next set of steps and leave the water.
Noel Stokes and Marie McKenna were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.