Citations from the 35th Annual Report of Comhairle na Míre Gaile, for the year ended 31st December, 1981


David Condren, Fairview, Dublin 3

At about 8.15pm on 4th September, 1980, David Condren was driving along the South Quays towards the city centre. He saw a large group of people gathered by the Liffey and, when he got out of his car to investigate, he saw a man struggling in the river. Another man jumped into the water and lifted the drowning man’s head above the water. The drowning man struggled, however, and it was difficult for the other man to control him. Mr. Condren then entered the water. A rope was thrown to him and he tied it around the man’s waist. He then pulled the man to a ladder on the river wall and the man was pulled to safety. A fire brigade ambulance arrived and the man was brought to hospital.

David Condren was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda Michael Tighe, Dundrum Garda Station, Dublin

On the morning of 14th October, 1980, a woman put her 2-year-old son into her car which was parked in front of her house in Sandyford. She then returned to her house to collect her handbag. While driving by, Garda Michael Tighe noticed smoke coming from a house ahead of him. On reaching the house, he saw a car on fire. The car was enveloped in smoke and flames were coming from under the bonnet. He managed to prise open the front door and take the child out of the car. Then, while the mother phoned the fire brigade, Garda Tighe, with the help of some of the neighbours, brought the fire under control.

Garda Michael Tighe was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Martin Corcoran, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

On 23rd June, 1980, a shore fishing competition was held at the Harbour, Balbriggan. There were a number of onlookers present and after some time a splash was heard and someone shouted that there was a boy in the water. Martin Corcoran immediately jumped into the water. Mr. Corcoran grabbed the child and also caught hold of a loose chain which was hanging over the wall. The people on the bank then helped them from the water.

Martin Corcoran was awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery.


Dan Donnelly, Blackrock, Co. Cork

At 7.45pm on 22nd January, 1981, a car entered the River Lee at the Marina, Cork. There was one person in the car; a woman. Mr. Dan Donnelly was driving nearby and he was flagged down by some people who had seen what happened. He dived into the water and swam to the car which was half submerged in the water. He shouted at the woman and banged on the window. She did not respond for some time but she eventually rolled down the window a little. He forced the glass down further and grabbed her arm. However, he had to release his grip as the car nose-dived and sank. Mr. Donnelly dived twice and tried to open the door but could not. On his third dive he failed to locate the car. The car was taken from the river at 10.40pm and the woman’s body was recovered from it.

Dan Donnelly was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


John Charters, Townsend Street, Dublin; Thomas G. Doherty, Ballymun, Dublin 11; Martin Duffy, Lucan, Co. Dublin and Brendan Brown, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10

Between 10.00pm and 11.00pm on 28th September, 1980, a man was seen floating in the River Liffey at Arran Quay. Thomas Doherty was lowered into the river by means of a rope which was held by people standing at the quay wall. While he was being lowered, he heard a splash and saw another man stuck in the mud about 10 feet from the quay wall. This man, John Charters, had dived in from the river wall when the tide was out and died from a broken neck. Mr. Doherty went out to the man in the middle of the river and brought him to the quay wall. Two other men, Martin Duffy and Brendan Brown, were lowered into the water and they brought Mr. Charters’ body to the quay wall.

John Charters was awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery and Thomas G. Doherty, Martin Duffy and Brendan Brown were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Captain Sean Oakes, Carrigrohane, Co. Cork

On 31st July, 1980, a man went fishing for mackerel at the ‘Blue Pool’, Doonbeg, Co. Clare. He went to the lower ledge of the cliffs to assemble his fishing road and, while he was doing so, a huge wave broke on the rocks and washed him out to sea. Two men were fishing nearby and they threw a lifebuoy to him, but the breeze swept it away from the man’s reach. The men then ran to find a telephone and they alerted the Gardaí. An Irish Helicopters Ltd. detachment at Shannon Airport were requested to assist in the rescue. They departed from Shannon at 3.50pm and arrived over the area fifteen minutes later. They flew over the cliff and down to the water. They spotted the man in the water and threw a lifejacket to him but to no avail. They lowered a life raft and flew away to allow the man to get near it but he was unable to as the wind blew it away from him. They then flew over the life raft and tried to blow it towards the man but the life raft was overturned and the man was too weak to pull himself onto it. Captain Oakes was then lowered by rope into the water. The rope was cut and Captain Oakes swam to the man. He climbed onto the life raft but the helicopter caused the life raft to somersault and Captain Oakes was thrown off it. He landed in the water quite near to the drowning man. He then got hold of the man and they both went inside the life raft. Captain Oakes climbed out of the raft and turned it upright. The Air Corps arrived a short time later and the man was rescued and taken to hospital.

Martin Corcoran was awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery.


Jim Hannon, Westport, Co. Mayo

At approximately 4.00pm on 10th September, 1980, a man was teaching his wife to drive on the road along Westport Quay. It appears that she put her foot on the accelerator instead of the brake and the car glanced off the wall of a store at the quay side, then raced forwards, glanced off a parked car and plunged into the sea. The car floated momentarily and the husband and wife succeeded in escaping from the car before it sank. Mr. Jim Hannon heard that a car had gone over the quay wall and he ran to help, grabbing a spare wheel on the way. He threw the wheel in the direction of the woman but it did not reach her. He then entered the water. He threw a rope to the man but he was unable to catch hold of it. Mr. Hannon then waded out and caught hold of the man and brought him to the ladder at the quay wall where some other people pulled him to safety. He then waded out to the woman and brought her to safety also.

Jim Hannon was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda Patrick Begley, Mary Street Garda Station, Limerick

At 1.30pm on 15th January, 1981, Garda Patrick Begley was on duty when he saw a woman in the River Shannon at Honan’s Quay, Limerick. He threw a lifebuoy to her but she didn’t take it and appeared semi-conscious. He then entered the water. He swam to the woman but she had gone under the water. He succeeded in bringing her to the surface and brought her to the quayside. Some people dropped a rope to him but he was unable to put it around the woman as the coldness of the water had affected his hands. He was finding it difficult to keep a hold of the woman and she struggled out of his grasp but he managed to retrieve her. The fire brigade arrived and, with the aid of a safety harness, brought the woman to safety.

Garda Patrick Begley was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Dr. Niall Webb, Sandycove, Co. Dublin

At 11.30pm on 14th October, 1980, Dr. Niall Webb, the honorary medical adviser at Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Station, was summoned with the rest of the lifeboat crew to remove an injured seaman from the Norweigian bulk carrier ‘Blix’. The weather was overcast and blustery and the sea was rough. The lifeboat met the ‘Blix’ at about 2.00am. The wind was force 5 to 6 and there was a heavy swell, giving waves of 18 feet. The pilot ladder was lowered down the starboard side of the ‘Blix’ and Dr. Webb jumped from the bow of the lifeboat to the ladder. He then climbed 30 feet up to the deck. Once on board, he attended to the injured man, who had broken his leg and a rib. Then the seaman was transferred to a lifeboat. It proved very difficult for the doctor to return to the lifeboat. Several attempts were made and eventually Dr. Webb managed to jump onto the lifeboat’s deck. The lifeboat arrived back in Dun Laoghaire soon after 3.00am and the injured man was transferred to hospital.

Dr. Niall Webb was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Sean Moriarty, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick

At 11.00am on 27th November, 1980, a 17-year-old man entered the Probation Office at the Department of Justice, Roxboro Road, Limerick, where he spoke to two of the Probation Officers. The man produced a rifle and led the two women to a reception office on the ground floor. Later another Probation Officer entered the office and all three were held at gunpoint. They phoned another Probation Officer in Dublin and the man complained to her that he had received summonses and he had only committed one of the crimes with which he was charged. The Gardaí went to the scene and spoke to the man on the intercom system from outside the premises. The man repeated his demands. At about 11.30am, Sean Moriarty, Senior Probation Officer, arrived at the office. He went into the office and the man immediately trained his rifle on Mr. Moriarty. Mr. Moriarty offered himself as a hostage instead of the three women. After some discussion, the man agreed to let two of the hostages go. The man’s mother arrived at 12.00 and she persuaded him to let in a Detective Inspector who was outside. He agreed at this stage to release the third woman hostage. Mr. Moriarty and the Detective Inspector continued to negotiate with the man, advising him to give up. The man kept the gun pointed alternately at Mr. Moriarty and the Detective Inspector. After some negotiation, the man agreed to leave the office, requesting his mother and the Detective Inspector to go outside the door. He then directed Mr. Moriarty to the door of the building, keeping the gun against his back. They stopped at the door and the barrel of the rifle appeared forward of Mr. Moriarty by his side at which point both Mr. Moriarty and the Detective Inspector grabbed the gun, which the man released without a struggle. He was then arrested.

Sean Moriarty was awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery.


Frank Denner, Gurranabraher, Cork; Declan Cronin, College Road, Cork and Don McCarthy, Blackrock, Cork

At 10.30pm on 16th November, 1980, a woman threw herself into the River Lee at Sullivan’s Quay, Cork. Don McCarthy was walking with his girlfriend and a friend and, when he saw a woman in the river, he jumped in. He caught hold of the woman and headed for the bank but got into difficulties himself. He lost hold of the woman when he was only a few feet from the bank. Three Gardaí arrived at this point. One of them was preparing to jump in to help Mr. McCarthy when Frank Denner dived into the river and caught him. One of the Gardaí threw a lifebuoy to Mr. Denner and he used this to aid him in bringing Mr. McCarthy to safety. Mr. Declan Cronin then jumped into the water and he caught hold of the woman and brought her to the quay wall. The Gardaí assisted them from the river.

Frank Denner, Declan Cronin and Don McCarthy were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Derek McCarthy, Orwell Gardens, Dublin 6

On 19th April, 1981, a 10-year-old girl and her brother, aged 7 years, went for a walk along the bank of the River Dodder with their cousin Derek McCarthy, aged 12 years. The younger boy lost his footing at one point and fell into the river. Derek McCarthy looked for help but there was none around. He found a stick and climbed onto the branch of a tree which was over-hanging the river. With the aid of the stick he pushed the boy to the side of the river. When he was near the bank, he grabbed him and pulled him out of the water. The boy was unconscious at this stage. He was brought to hospital and recovered.

Derek McCarthy was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


David McKeague, Ramelton, Co. Donegal

At about 7.20pm on 2nd June, 1981, a man waded into the River Lennon at Ramelton. When he was out of his depth, he got into difficulties and was swept downstream by the current. A 12-year-old boy had seen him go into the river and he raised the alarm. David McKeague immediately went to the scene, jumped in and caught hold of the man. He managed to catch hold of a rope which was attached to the parapet wall but it broke and he had to let go of the man. At this point, a lifebelt was thrown in and he managed to regain his hold on the man. Another man jumped into the water and assisted Mr. McKeague in removing the man from the water.

David McKeague was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda Philip Tivnan, Julianstown, Co. Meath; Barbara, Tallaght, Co. Dublin; Joseph Greenan, Bettystown, Co. Meath and Gary Lynch, Bettystown, Co. Meath

On 13th July, 1981, three youths from Belfast went out into the sea off Bettystown, Co. Meath, in a rubber dinghy. A number of people on the beach noticed that the dinghy was in difficulty and the Gardaí were telephoned. Garda Tivnan received the call and he drove towards the beach. A Mr. Fagan saw the youths in difficulty and he informed his wife, Barbara, who ran to the shore. Mr. Fagan also told Gary Lynch who also went to the shore. Joseph Greenan was also informed and he went to get his speedboat. The three youths, meanwhile, had abandoned their dinghy and two of them had decided to swim to shore as the third was not a good swimmer and would wait on the dinghy. Mrs. Fagan swam out to them and got a hold of one of the youths. Garda Tivnan swam out behind her and he grabbed the other youth and they brought them both back to shore. On shore, Garda Tivnan learned that there was a third youth and he swam out to him. On the way, he became aware of a motor boat behind him, with Joseph Greenan and Gary Lynch inside, and he got into it and pointed out where the youth was. They reached the youth and put him in the boat. The youth was by now unconscious and did not appear to be breathing. Garda Tivnan gave the youth artificial respiration and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until he was taken into the ambulance on the shore. All three youths were brought to hospital and recovered.

Garda Philip Tivnan and Barbara Fagan were each awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery and Joseph Greenan and Gary Lynch were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Ann Holligan and Eugene Dempsey, Athy, Co. Kildare and William Morgan, Maganey, Co. Kildare

On 16th July, 1981, as part of a festival being held in Athy, Co. Kildare, there was a rope crossing the River Barrow. A man was attempting to cross the river on this rope and fell in. The man’s brother-in-law, William Morgan, went to his assistance. He caught the man around the neck the second time he came up but, after struggling with him for some time, Mr. Morgan himself got into difficulties. The man’s brother, Eugene Dempsey, then jumped in but the man panicked and broke his hold. Miss Ann Holligan also dived in to help. For a few minutes, they could not find the man as the water was too mucky. Both Eugene Dempsey and Ann Holligan managed to catch hold of him and they brought him to the river bank.

Ann Holligan, Eugene Dempsey and William Morgan were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda John Lally, Tuam, Co. Galway

At approximately 8.30am on 4th May, 1981, a house on Barrack Street, Tuam, caught fire. The father went across the road to get help and the mother went upstairs to get the children, who were sleeping. The father returned immediately but was unable to get up the stairs which were blazing. The fire brigade and Garda Lally arrived on the scene at the same time. A ladder was put up to a rear window but without breathing apparatus the fire brigade members considered it too dangerous to enter the house. Garda Lally climbed up the ladder and entered the house. He handed out four children but was unable to locate the mother’s body. Her body was later removed by members of the fire brigade. On arrival at hospital, the mother and her four children were dead. Later another child, who was alive, was found and taken to hospital.

Garda John Lally was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Detective Garda William Craven, Dublin Castle

At about 1.00am on 19th February, 1981, Detective Garda William Craven and another Garda were on patrol when they received a report that a man had fallen into the River Liffey at Chancery Street Bridge. They drove to the scene and saw a man in the water holding on to a lifebuoy, the rope of which was held by a person on the bridge. The fire brigade arrived and two firemen were lowered in an attempt to rescue the man but the man slipped out of their grasp and was swept away with the current. At this stage, Detective Garda Craven ran along the quays and when he was ahead of the man in the water, he jumped in. He swam out to the centre of the river and caught the man. The fire brigade then hauled the man out of the water. Detective Garda Craven was able to swim to a nearby ladder and climb out. The rescued man was brought to hospital but attempts to revive him failed.

Detective Garda William Craven was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Kathleen Maughan, Christchurch Place, Dublin 8

On 27th July, 1981, a man fell into the River Liffey at O’Connell Bridge. Kathleen Maughan, aged 13 years, went to the scene when she heard people shouting. She jumped into the river, caught hold of the drowning man and brought him to the steps on the quay wall where they were both assisted by one of the onlookers.

Kathleen Maughan was awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery.


Patrick Connors, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

At about 10.45pm on 5th April, 1981, a woman was seen jumping into the River Shannon at Harvey’s Quay, Limerick. Two men rushed to the scene. One of them threw a lifebuoy to her. She caught hold of it but in her panic did not hold onto it. The other man went to a nearby telephone and summoned assistance. Mr. Patrick Connors was passing by and he saw what was happening. He entered the water with a lifebuoy and caught hold of the woman. He put her onto the lifebuoy and they were pulled to the quay wall and helped out of the water.

Patrick Connors was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


James O’Sullivan, Model Farm Road, Cork

On 17th February, 1980, Mr. James O’Sullivan was approached by an unknown boy and asked if he would help his companion out of the pit in a nearby quarry. Mr. O’Sullivan rushed to the quarry and saw the boy’s companion sinking in the mud and sand, some 60 feet below. He ran home to get a rope and ran back to the quarry. He threw the rope to the boy but was unable to pull him out as the suction was too great. He then went into the pit and started to loosen the mud around his waist. He tried to free the boy for at least an hour. Eventually, the boy was free and Mr. O’Sullivan threw him to the edge. Mr. O’Sullivan then became stuck himself. A crowd had gathered by this time and one of the people contacted the fire brigade who freed Mr. O’Sullivan.

James O’Sullivan was awarded a Certificate of Bravery.


Garda Sergeant John Murray, Garda Michael O’Sullivan and Denis Deasy

On 7th August, 1981, a man escaped from Garda custody at the Courthouse, Cork. He was not seen again by the Gardaí until shortly after midnight when two Gardaí spotted him on St. Patrick’s Quay. The Gardaí approached him but he jumped into the river. He swam until he was under Brian Boru Bridge. A crowd had gathered on both sides of the river and, in a further act of bravado and gesture of defiance, the man stood up on one of the supports, stripped, and dived back into the river and swam downstream. At this stage, Garda Sergeant John Murray, with the assistance of Garda Michael O’Sullivan and Denis Deasy, commandeered a small fibreglass punt. They set out after the man. They tried to keep the stern towards the man so that he could not sink them but despite this he managed to rock the boat dangerously from time to time. After about 20 minutes, Sergeant Murray saw that the man was weakening and was in fact starting to drown. Mr. Deasy then caught hold of him and held onto him until a larger craft arrived. They then brought him ashore.

Garda Sergeant John Murray, Garda Michael O’Sullivan and Denis Deasy were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.