Citations from the 31st and 32nd Annual Reports of Comhairle na Míre Gaile, for the years ended 31st December, 1977 and 31st December, 1978


Sergeant Anthony Sexton, Quin Garda Station, Co. Clare; Patrick Dinan, Ennis, Co. Clare; Michael Reidy, Ennis, Co. Clare and John Horkan, Quin, Co. Clare

At about 12.30pm on 27th May, 1976, Sergeant Sexton was in his home in Quin when he was notified by telephone that there were children trapped in a fire in a nearby house. He rushed to the scene. By this time, John Horkan had placed a ladder under one of the upstairs windows and had helped the parents to bring four of their six children to safety. Another ladder was placed under the room where the remaining two children were trapped and the father and another man climbed up this ladder and began throwing buckets of water into the room. Sergeant Sexton then arrived. He forced open the front door and climbed the stairs. Despite the dense smoke, he located the two children, who were unconscious, and brought them onto the landing. He brought one of the children down the stairs and met Patrick Dinan and Michael Reidy, members of the local fire brigade. Both firemen climbed the stairs and Patrick Dinan carried down the second child. Sergeant Sexton successfully applied artificial respiration to both children who were removed to hospital by ambulance.

Sergeant Anthony Sexton was awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery and Patrick Dinan, Michael Reidy and John Horkan were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Richard Bolger, Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny

On 28th August, 1976, a 5-year-old boy fell into the River Barrow near Murphy’s Mill, Tinnahinch, Graiguenamanagh. The alarm was raised and Richard Bolger ran to the river where he saw the boy about 4 yards out lying in about 6 feet of water. He jumped in, swam to the boy and brought him to the bank.

Richard Bolger was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Cameron Heaton, Lisnagry, Co. Limerick

At about 6.15pm on 15th July, 1976, a man got into difficulties while swimming in the sea at Barley Cove, Goleen, Co. Cork. He was seen by Mr. Cameron Heaton, who went out about 50 yards into the water with a lifebuoy. The man caught hold of the lifebuoy and Mr. Heaton began to bring him towards the shore. Two other men assisted Mr. Heaton in the last stages of the rescue and helped him bring the man to safety.

Cameron Heaton was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Sub-Station Officer Patrick McMahon, Limerick Fire Brigade

At about 11.30pm on 20th December, 1976, a car with three occupants fell about 12 feet into the Wet Dock, Limerick. The car sank quickly and shortly afterwards a fire brigade crew arrived. One of the occupants of the car managed to float to the surface. Efforts were made to reach him with a lifebuoy, but these were unsuccessful. Patrick Murphy then entered the water with a rope tied to his waist. He brought a lifebuoy to the man, who was in a hysterical condition. The man grabbed the lifebuoy and pulled Mr. McMahon under for a moment, but Mr. McMahon managed to calm him down and towed him to the quay wall. The two men were lifted out of the water and taken to hospital.

Sub-Station Officer Patrick McMahon was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Brendan J. Daly, Bantry, Co. Cork

At about 5.30pm on 22nd August, 1976, a man was bathing at Barley Cove Beach, Goleen, Co. Cork, when he found himself being carried out to sea by a strong ebb tide. Brendan Daly obtained a lifebelt and swam towards the man. A man on the beach was holding onto the line attached to the lifebelt but when this became tangled he was forced to let it go. Brendan Daly swam about a quarter of a mile to reach the man and got him to put an arm through the lifebelt before towing him to safety.

Brendan J. Daly was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda John Mullins, Sligo

Smoke was seen coming from a ground floor flat in Old Market Street, Sligo, at about 5.30pm on 17th December, 1976, and Garda Mullins ran to the scene. He saw that one of the rooms was on fire and he broke a glass panel to open the front door. He tried to go inside but was driven back by thick smoke and intense heat. Someone then told Garda Mullin that a 78-year-old woman occupied a flat on the first floor. He went up the stairs to the flat. He found the woman in the room immediately above the fire. There were no flames in the room but it was full of smoke. He brought the woman to the window and called for a ladder. One was placed under the window and they climbed down. The body of a woman was later removed from the ground floor flat by members of the fire brigade.

Garda John Mullins was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Michael Dunne, St. Teresa’s Terrace, Kilkenny

At about 2.30pm on 23rd June, 1976, Mr. Michael Dunne was in his garden beside the River Nore when he heard a splash in the river. He went to investigate and saw a man lying face downwards in the water about 12 feet out from the bank. He jumped into the river but had considerable difficulty in swimming out due to a heavy growth of weeds. He used a rake to pull the man towards him and was able to bring him to the bank. The rescued man appeared to be unconscious but he came to after a few minutes. He was taken to hospital where he recovered.

Michael Dunne was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda John J. Ryan, Tuam Garda Station, Co. Galway

At about 4.30pm on 22nd March, 1977, Garda John Ryan was alerted that two brothers, aged 9 and 6 years, were in difficulty in the River Nanny at Tuam. He ran to the riverside and saw the two children bobbing up and down together in the middle of the river. He jumped fully clothed into the river and went out to the centre. He caught the two boys around the waist and with some difficulty brought them to the bank. One of the boys was unconscious when taken from the water but when Garda Ryan applied artificial respiration he came round.

Garda John J. Ryan was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Owen G. Moran, Trim, Co. Meath

At about 11.00am on 6th May, 1977, Mr. Owen Moran heard that a child had fallen into the River Boyne near Watergate Street Bridge, Trim. He ran to the river and saw a young boy floating downstream. He jumped into the river and caught hold of the child. A man on the bank used a long stick to assist Mr. Moran and the child from the water.

Owen G. Moran was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda Michael B. J. Whelan and Garda Patrick A. Kinneen, Henry Steet Garda Station, Limerick

At approximately 11.15pm on 28th December, 1976, Gardaí Whelan and Kinneen were on patrol in Limerick City at Honan’s Quay. They were informed that there was a young woman in the River Shannon. The woman was holding onto a lifebelt which had been thrown to her by one of the onlookers who was holding onto the rope attached to it. Garda Whelan climbed down a ladder in the quay wall which was close to the woman and drew the woman towards himself. Garda Kinneen then came down the ladder and both Gardaí tried unsuccessfully to lift the woman on to the ladder. They remained in the water for about 6 minutes more supporting the woman all the time. A fire brigade crew then arrived and they assisted all three people out of the water.

Garda Michael B. J. Whelan and Garda Patrick A. Kinneen were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Catherine Sheridan, Killargue P.O., Co. Leitrim

At about 12.30pm on 2nd July, 1977, a fire broke out in the kitchen of the Sheridan home in Carrickoghill, Co. Leitrim. Mr. Sheridan, 83 years of age and totally invalided, was in a bed in a room above the kitchen and his wife, Catherine, aged 76 years, was resting in another upstairs room. Catherine Sheridan noticed smoke coming up through the floorboards and went onto the landing where she saw that the stairway was full of smoke. She went into her husband’s room, broke the window and took her husband out of bed. She then tied two sheets together, attached one end to a leg of the bed and lowered herself 12 feet to the ground. Mrs. Sheridan then ran half a mile to alert neighbours who rushed to the burning house. The neighbours extinguished the fire with buckets of water and used ladders to get Mr. Sheridan out through the window.

Catherine Sheridan was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.




Sergeant Matthew Shanley, Greystones Garda Station, Co. Wicklow

At approximately 4.00pm on 27th February, 1977, a 13-year-old boy fell into the sea from rocks he was climbing beside Cliff Road, Greystones. He went under the water a couple of times but managed to grab onto a ledge at water level. The matter was reported to Greystones Garda Station and Sergeant Shanley went to the scene, bringing with him a length of rope. He descended the rocks until he was almost directly over the boy and 20 feet above him. He then climbed down the almost vertical rock face until he got within 10 feet of the boy. He made a loop on one end of the rope and threw it to the boy. The boy put it around his waist and Sergeant Shanley drew the boy towards him. He flung the other end of the rope up to three men on the rocks overhead and they assisted him in hauling the boy to safety.

Sergeant Matthew Shanley was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda Edward Kirby, Shandon Garda Station, Cork; Patrick Dunne, Watercourse Road Fire Station, Cork and William O’Driscoll, Churchfield Gardens, Cork

At 10.50pm on 15th September, 1977, Garda Kirby was notified that a man had jumped into the River Lee. He rushed to the scene and saw the man some 60 feet out in the river. He threw a lifebelt but the man was unable to reach it. He then entered the water, bringing a lifebelt with him. He kept the man afloat with the lifebelt but was unable to go towards the quay as the current was carrying them downstream. At this stage, Patrick Dunne entered the water and he helped Garda Kirby in keeping the man afloat. After about 10 minutes, William O’Driscoll descended a ladder on the quayside and threw a lifebelt to them. Mr. O’Driscoll then helped them to the quayside. The rescued man was removed to hospital.

Garda Edward Kirby, Patrick Dunne and William O’Driscoll were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda John Lawton, Tramore Garda Station, Co. Waterford and Paul McGill, Tramore, Co. Waterford

At about 4.40pm on 22nd April, 1977, Paul McGill and his 17-year-old brother-in-law were walking along the clifftops at Westown, Tramore, when the youth fell down about 200 feet of vertical cliff. Paul McGill asked some men who were nearby to get help. He then descended the cliffs to where the fallen youth was lying. Garda John Lawton then arrived on the scene. He began to go down the cliff, instructing onlookers to hold the end of a grappling iron he had brought with him while he descended to a ledge about a quarter of the way down the cliff face, holding the rope attached to the grappling iron. The onlookers threw the grappling iron to him and he attached it to a rock and descended. About halfway down the cliff the rope snapped and Garda Lawton slipped to the ledge below where Paul McGill caught him. They then waited with the youth until the lifeboat arrived. Garda Lawton applied artificial respiration to the youth who was unconscious and bleeding from the back of the head but the doctor from the lifeboat pronounced the youth dead.

Garda John Lawton and Paul McGill were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.



Fireman John Smith, Ceanannus Mór, Co. Meath

At 8.00am on 15th May, 1975, John Smith was on his way to work at the Fire Station in Kells, Co. Meath, when he noticed a fire in the ground floor of a public house in Farrell Street. On hearing from an onlooker that the owner was trapped inside, Mr. Smith entered the building and made his way upstairs. He found the owner lying unconscious and badly injured on the floor. He brought the man to the ground floor but was unable to get him out into the street as the entire ground floor was by then in flames. He dragged the injured man down to the basement and, with the help of neighbours, managed to lift him outside.

Fireman John Smith was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


John O’Donoghue, Douglas, Cork

At about 6.45am on 22nd August, 1975, John O’Donoghue was driving a bus along Merchant’s Quay on the River Lee in Cork when he saw a woman frantically waving her arms and looking into the river. He stopped the bus and ran to the quay wall, where he saw a woman floating downstream in the water. He immediately jumped in and swam to the woman. A lifebuoy was thrown and he placed it under the woman and brought her to steps on the quayside. The rescued woman was then taken away in an ambulance.

John O’Donoghue was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Malcolm Foster, Ballydavid, Co. Kerry; David Stokes, Ballydavid, Co. Kerry and William Granville, Ballyferriter, Co. Kerry

At 2.15am on 14th October, 1977, a radio message informed the Garda Síochána in Tralee that some crew members of a ship grounded in Smerwick Harbour, Ballydavid, were being sent ashore for medical treatment. They were being brought ashore by a lifeboat. At 5.15am a further message was received stating that the lifeboat was in difficulties and that a second lifeboat had left to assist the first one. At the request of the Gardaí, Malcolm Foster, accompanied by two crew members, David Stokes and William Granville, put to sea at about 6.00am to go to the lifeboat crew’s assistance. After travelling about 4 miles in rough seas under driving rain and in semi-darkness they came upon the first lifeboat. It had capsized and 8 men were clinging to it. Mr. Foster and his crew pulled these men on board and later found and rescued the crew of the second lifeboat. They returned to shore at Ballydavid Pier at 8.00am. Eleven men were rescued and the body of a twelfth who had drowned before the arrival of Mr. Foster and his crew was also recovered.

Malcolm Foster, David Stokes and William Granville were each awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery.