Twenty one people were recognised for their outstanding acts of courage, bravery and life saving efforts at the National Bravery Awards at Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin on Friday 24th October.
Among those were three Gardai, one of whom was Garda Mark Irwin who was awarded two bronze medals and two certificates of bravery for separate incidents.
The first incident happened when he and Reserve Garda Stephen Corrigan, were in pursuit of a car in Westport, Co. Mayo on October 28th, 2012. Garda Irwin stopped the pursuit for safety reasons, but a short time later he found the car sinking in a Knappaghbeg Lake. The vehicle had landed on its roof and the driver was trapped inside. Mark recalled “It was like a scene out of a movie. I was running completely on instinct and adrenaline, my training kicked in.”
Garda Irwin and Reserve Garda Corrigan jumped into the lake in freezing temperatures and managed to keep the man conscious until the emergency services arrived 20 minutes later. Reserve Garda Corrigan also received a bronze medal and certificates.
The second incident took place not long afterwards, while Mark was on duty at 4am with Garda John Boyle. The Gardai came upon a car which was dangling over the edge of a pier. A young man had climbed out of the car but had fallen into the sea. “My uniform was barely dry almost two weeks later when I came upon a car dangling back and forth over the edge of the pier,” he Garda Irwin. Garda Boyle also received a bronze medal.
The awards were presented by Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett, on behalf of Comhairle na Mire Gaile (the Deeds of Bravery Council). Mr. Barrett said it was important to recognise those who risked their lives for others. “These people could have sat back and let somebody else do it, but they didn’t”.
Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett, Garda Mark Irwin and Assistant Garda Chief John Twomey.
Published: 26/10/14 at 17.00
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