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16 Aug 2022

Kilkenny Garda who saved man from river presented with National Bravery Award

Kilkenny Kilkenny Kilkenny

Garda Caroline O'Brien saved a man from the River Nore

A Kilkenny garda has been honoured with a National Bravery Award for her role in saving a man from the River Nore.

Garda Caroline O’Brien has been awarded a Bronze Medal and a Certificate of Bravery for her actions in Kilkenny City in the summer of 2019.

On the morning of 7 July, 2019, Garda Aoife Doyle, Garda James McGuill and Garda Caroline O’Brien were on patrol near St John’s Quay, Kilkenny when they saw a young man enter the water. Garda Caroline O’Brien entered the water, swam to the man and brought him to the surface. Garda James McGuill threw a lifebuoy to Garda O’Brien and both then pulled the young man 50 metres to the nearest ladder point on the river wall and the young man was taken from the water by the garda.

Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, has presented National Bravery Awards to 25 people from Counties Cavan, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Offaly, Sligo, Tipperary and Waterford, and from the United States of America, for 17 acts of bravery.

The Bravery awards were set up in 1947 to recognise those who risked their lives to save others and are administered by Comhairle na Míre Gaile – the Deeds of Bravery Council – which is chaired by the Ceann Comhairle.

The Ceann Comhairle said: “The deeds we honour here are exceptional acts of bravery. They mark the moments where people saved the lives of others through their actions, risking their own lives doing so. What these awards celebrate is the noblest impulse within a human being, to risk their life in order to save another. We honour people who leaped into stormy seas, who braved swollen rivers, climbed down cliffs, assisted at road traffic collisions and performed other remarkable deeds. Through their actions there are people alive today, who would undoubtedly have died.

“I am of course conscious that we mark these deeds at a time when the world is still under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. This virus has brought great pain to many families throughout the country and our hearts are heavy for the loss suffered over the last 20 months. But the exemplary service given by our doctors, nurses and frontline workers across the health service, the fire and rescue services and An Garda Síochána has brought great hope and also pride, to us all.

“Today we rightly acknowledge the brave acts of heroism that our honoured guests have performed. But it also a day for remembering and acknowledging the very many acts of bravery carried out day in and day out throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However small or big those acts were and continue to be, collectively they contribute to keeping us all safe during an unprecedented time in our lives.

“The collective sense of good and indeed bravery displayed nationwide from many walks of life throughout the pandemic rightly allows us to be both proud of our communities and grateful for their existence. An Irish language expression whose literal meaning is 'It is in each other’s shadow that people live' but which, more broadly, invokes a sense of community and interdependence is most apt for the times we live in – Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.”

The Deeds of Bravery Council includes the Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, the Lord Mayors of Dublin and Cork, the Garda Commissioner, the President of the Association of City & County Councils and the Chair of the Irish Red Cross.

The Council may award Gold, Silver or Bronze medals as well as Certificates of Bravery.

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