Citations from the 28th Annual Report of Comhairle na Míre Gaile, for the year ended 31st December, 1974
Thomas A. Joyce, Inishere, Aran Islands, Co. Galway
At 11.30am on 4th May, 1973, three lighthouse keepers, including Thomas Joyce, were engaged in transporting crates of plaster board on the carriage of the cliff incline railway at Inishtearaght Lighthouse off the Kerry coast. One of the men overbalanced and fell head over heels down the cliff rail incline. Joyce stepped out and grabbed the man as he fell. This almost stopped the man at a level of 83 feet below the carriage. Both men fell on downwards and luckily came to rest about 133 feet vertically below the carriage and about 145 feet down the incline. Had it not been for Mr. Joyce’s action, there is no doubt that the man would have continued to fall down the smooth concrete railway and would have been killed on striking the concrete wall at the bottom of the rock.
Thomas A. Joyce was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Garda Austin Barrett, Bridewell Station, Cork
On 3rd June, 1973, Aer Lingus flight A.580 left Dublin for Palma at 12.55pm. At 1.50pm the passengers were informed that an emergency landing would have to be made at Cardiff Airport because of mechanical trouble. The stewardesses seemed very worried and Garda Barrett, a passenger on the plane, suspected something more serious. He identified himself to a crew member who informed him that they had been told that there was a bomb on the plane. This news spread to the other passengers and panic had gripped them by the time the plane landed at Cardiff. When the plane landed, Garda Barrett positioned himself at one of the exits to help the other passengers from the plane. The Ground Rescue Crew at Cardiff did not approach the plane; apparently the bomb was due to explode. Because of this, passengers were panicking and were scrambling onto the wings and jumping to the ground. During all this, Garda Barrett was calming people down and assisting them onto the wings.
Garda Austin Barrett was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Michael Sadler, Mary Street, Cork
On 9th June, 1973, at about 3.00pm, a woman fell into the River Lee at Fr. Matthew Quay, Cork. Michael Sadler was walking nearby when he saw a crowd at the quay wall. On seeing the woman in the water, he jumped in and held on to her. With the help of a lifebuoy he succeeded in bringing the drowning woman to safety.
Michael Sadler was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Eileen Lynch, Ballyheelan, Co. Cavan and Anthony Scanlon, Blanchardstown, Co. Dublin
At 3.30pm on 20th March, 1973, a man was seen falling into the River Liffey from O’Connell Bridge. He did not try to swim and drifted downstream under the bridge. Both Miss Lynch and Mr. Scanlon entered the river, from different points, and swam to the man. A lifebuoy was thrown and they placed it around the drowning man. All three were then hauled to safety on the arrival of a rescue squad.
Eileen Lynch and Anthony Scanlon were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
John Heaney, Glaslough, Co. Monaghan
On 22nd June, 1973, two Gardaí went sailing on Castle Leslie Lake, Glaslough. One of the Gardaí went for a swim. He swam underwater for a few moments and surfaced over 40 yards from the boat. The Garda in the boat tried to steer it towards the Garda in the water but he was not skilled at sailing and was unable to do so. He shouted for help and John Heaney, who was on the shore, ran to an old boat and sailed it towards the Garda. He calmed the man in the water by speaking to him and instructed him on how to enter the boat without capsizing it.
John Heaney was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Thomas Goggins, Youghal, Co. Cork
On 10th June, 1973, Thomas Goggins and two other men were fishing at Green’s Quay, Youghal. At about 12.45pm they saw an Anglia car go over the wall into the sea. The three men ran to the spot. Mr. Goggins tied a fishing line around his waist, jumped into the sea and swam towards the car. He tried to open the driver’s door but failed as half the car was by this time underwater. He attempted to break the rear window but without success. The car then turned over and sank. The car was taken from the water after about half an hour and the owner was found to be dead.
Thomas Goggins was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Peter Dyson, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England
At 7.00pm on 29th July, 1973, a 13-year-old boy went for a swim in the River Blackwater. He was accompanied by five other youths. Shortly after entering the water, he was swept out towards the middle of the river by a strong current. His companions on the bank shouted to Peter Dyson, aged 16 years, who was swimming nearby. Dyson swam to the boy who grabbed hold of him and pulled him under. Dyson was able to get control of the situation and he brought the boy to the bank.
Peter Dyson was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Denis O’Brien, Douglas Road, Cork
At 3.00pm on 11th April, 1973, a Garda who was on duty at Parnell Bridge, Cork, observed a woman in the River Lee. He threw her a lifebelt. She grabbed the lifebelt but as the Garda was pulling her in she released her grip and started to sink again. Denis O’Brien then jumped into the water, swam out to the woman and brought her to safety.
Denis O’Brien was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Patrick Finbarr O’Connell, Blarney, Co. Cork
On 19th July, 1972, a man went for a swim in a pool on the River Shournagh, near Blarney. He was accompanied by five of his children, their ages ranging from 8 to 14 years. He was teaching his 11-year-old daughter to swim by moving along the pool with her and holding her chin while he was on the bank. His hand slipped from underneath his daughter’s chin and as a result she grabbed her father by the legs and pulled him into the pool. She kept a grip on his legs so he could not get afloat or help his daughter. Mr. O’Connell was nearby and when he was informed of the incident he went to the pool and dived into the water. He rescued both father and daughter. The daughter was by then unconscious and the father was in a semi-conscious state. Both of them were taken to hospital for treatment.
Patrick Finbarr O’Connell was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Francis P. White, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14
At 9.00am on 20th March, 1973, Francis White was driving to work along Grand Parade towards Leeson Street Bridge. As he stopped at the traffic lights, he noticed the high level and turbulent condition of the canal lock to his left. He also saw an elderly lady lean over the edge of the lock and fall into the water. He immediately got out of his car and dived into the water. She was being carried away but Mr. White managed to catch her and bring her to the lock wall. An onlooker came to his assistance and pulled them both onto the bank.
Francis P. White was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Stanley Bates, Worcestershire, England
In April, 1971, Mr. Stanley Bates was fishing on the Owenmore River at Grange Harbour, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. A woman was searching for her 2-year-old son. She saw him standing on the steps of the pier some distance away. She then saw him fall into the water. Mr. Bates, who was on the other side of the river, also saw this happen and he dived into the water and swam towards the child. He managed to reach the child and bring him to the bank. Mr. Bates then applied artificial respiration and the child recovered.
Stanley Bates was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Gerald J. Donnelly, Rathfarnham; Alan Browne, Dublin; Edward Dalton, Terenure; George Cardiff, Inchicore; Michael Kennedy, Tallaght; James D. Hudson, Delgany, Co. Wicklow; Michael Brady, Terenure; James Kennedy, Templeogue; Daniel Bergin, Drimnagh and Patrick Crehan, Terenure
At about 9.50am on 26th April, 1973, at St. James’s Gate Brewery, Gerald Donnelly, Alan Browne and Edward Dalton were hosing water into an underground tunnel in order to dissipate carbon dioxide gas which had escaped into the tunnel. The tunnel was 290 feet long, 5 feet high and 3 feet 9 inches wide. Four pipes extended along the eastern wall of the tunnel. The Plant Engineer was inside the tunnel and wearing a breathing apparatus. The three men could see his light coming towards them and then it disappeared. They heard moaning and knew he was in trouble. The three men, with Donnelly in the lead, went down the tunnel to the man but were overcome by the gas and collapsed. George Cardiff and John Hudson then entered the tunnel and rescued Edward Dalton, who was nearest to them. They attempted to go into the tunnel again but could not reach the men because of the gas. Cardiff was joined by Michael Kennedy. They obtained a twin cylinder oxygen set for protection. The connecting hoses were not long enough to reach the men so Michael Brady carried the oxygen unit behind them. In this way they rescued Alan Browne. Cardiff was then joined by James Kennedy and using the same oxygen unit they reached Gerald Donnelly but were overcome by the gas and unable to rescue him. A last attempt was made by Cardiff and Patrick Crehan, with Daniel Bergin carrying the oxygen unit behind them. They ran out of oxygen, however, and had to retreat. The rescue operation at this point was taken over by members of the Dublin Fire Brigade Service. Gerald Donnelly and the Plant Engineer who was first to collapse were found to be dead when taken from the tunnel.
Gerald J. Donnelly was awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery and Alan Browne, Edward Dalton, George Cardiff, Michael Kennedy, James D. Hudson, Michael Brady, James Kennedy, Daniel Bergin and Patrick Crehan were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Thomas Nolan, Kilkee, Co. Clare
At 11.00am on 17th September, 1973, two men left the slipway at East End, Kilkee, in a two-man currach. Their purpose in putting to sea was to tow in a fish store box which was anchored about 50 yards from a boat belonging to one of the men, which was moored in the bay. As they were towing the fish store box, the currach capsized. Both men managed to cling onto the upturned craft, one man for a few minutes and the other for about 10 minutes. Thoman Nolan, who lived nearby, was alerted and he ran to his garage and got his eight-foot skiff and some rope. He went out to the upturned currach and saw a body floating face downwards in the water. He attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in the water but the heavy swell rendered this unsuccessful. He tied the rope around the body and brought it back to shore. He carried out resuscitation attempts on the shore also but without success. The body of the other man was recovered two days later.
Thomas Nolan was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Kevin Page, Clontarf, Dublin 3
At 11.00am on 21st October, 1973, a man was observed standing on a flight of steps leading down to the River Liffey from Bachelor’s Walk. When a Garda went to ask him what he was doing, he jumped in the river. The Garda took hold of the nearest lifebuoy and in doing so attracted the attention of Kevin Page. Mr. Page ran to O’Connell Bridge and dived into the water. He took hold of the drowning man and, using a lifebuoy which the Garda extended to him, he was able to secure him. A unit of Dublin Fire Brigade arrived and helped them out of the water. The man later recovered in hospital.
Kevin Page was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Joseph Caheny, Pearse Road, Sligo
At 3.30pm on 16th August, 1971, two girls, aged 9 and 4 years, went for a walk around the Quays, Sligo. The younger girl slipped and fell into the water. A woman who was passing helped the girl up the steps of the quay wall but she was unable to reach the girl in the water. When Joseph Caheny was told that there was a girl in the river, he immediately dived into the water. He soon located the child and brought her to the surface. The kiss of life was given to the child as soon as she was taken from the water. The child was taken to hospital where she recovered.
Joseph Caheny was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Garda Michael J. O’Hare, Bruff Garda Station, Co. Limerick
At 12.30am on 1st December, 1973, the Gardaí at Bruff received a report that a house was on fire and that a woman, aged 76 years, was trapped inside. Garda Michael J. O’Hare, who was off duty, immediately drove to the burning house. The kitchen and bedroom of the house were on fire when Garda O’Hare arrived and local people were fighting the fire with buckets of water. Garda O’Hare attempted to enter the house a couple of times but on both occasions he was driven back by the intense heat and smoke. He then broke the bedroom window, where it was thought that the woman was, and the firefighters focussed their efforts on this room. Garda O’Hare attempted to get in the bedroom but was driven back again. The Fire Brigade arrived and went in wearing breathing apparatus. They found that the woman was not in the bedroom. Garda O’Hare entered the house again, this time with a rope tied around him, and searched for the woman. Parts of the roof began to fall and the firemen tugged on the rope and persuaded the Garda to leave the house. The woman’s body was later found in the kitchen of her home.
Garda Michael J. O’Hare was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Liam O’Toole, Signal Corps, Baldonnel and James Rice, Inchicore, Dublin
At 11.00pm on 9th December, 1973, two men fell into the River Liffey at Aston Quay. On hearing a cry for help, Liam O’Toole ran to the Liffey wall and saw the men in the water. He dived into the river and attempted to bring one of the men to a ladder on the quay wall. He could not reach the ladder because of the strong current so he swam to an iron ring which was attached to the wall. James Rice jumped into the river at this point and he assisted the two men to the iron ring. All three men were hauled to safety by a unit of Dublin Fire Brigade. Unfortunately neither O’Toole nor Rice were able to attempt the rescue of the second man who had disappeared under the water shortly after falling in.
Liam O’Toole and James Rice were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Garda Anthony Flood, Pearse Street Garda Station, Dublin 2 and James D. O’Connor, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
At 8.40pm on 25th February, 1974, while Garda Anthony Flood was on duty at Burgh Quay, he was informed that a man had jumped into the River Liffey. Garda Flood ran to where there are steps leading into the river and dived into the water. He then swam to the man. The man was sinking but Garda Flood managed to bring him to the surface. He then brought the man to the steps at the river wall and a unit of Dublin Fire Brigade assisted them from the water. James D. O’Connor also made an attempt to rescue the man. He tried to use a lifebuoy attached to a rope but the rope became entangled in some wharf timber. He then entered the water to free the rope. He attempted to swim to the man but the rope was too short. He swam back to the wall to ask people holding the rope to move down the wall so he could reach the man. He then discovered that the man had been rescued.
Garda Anthony Flood and James D. O’Connor were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.