Gardaí and civilians receive National Bravery Awards for saving lives


“It is formulated planning – you don’t think about it,” said Garda Shaun Brosnan of the day he went into a bedroom in a burning building and helped to pull a man out, emerging just as the ceiling collapsed.

Garda Brosnan and colleagues John Hennessy and Mary Lonergan from Clonmel station were yesterday among 15 people – seven of whom were gardaí – honoured in the National Bravery Awards.

According to the citation, Garda Hennessy initially entered the burning house through a rear window, with Garda Brosnan’s help.

In conditions of almost zero visibility, he found the bedroom, which was extremely hot, with ash falling from the ceiling, and had difficulty breathing. He found the occupant unconscious by the bed but was forced to leave to get fresh air.

Both gardaí returned and carried the man to the window where Garda Lonergan and another assisted the unconscious man to safety. As Garda Hennessy and Garda Brosnan were leaving the house, the ceiling began to fall in.

Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil Seán Barrett TD, who presented the awards on behalf of Comhairle na Mire Gaile – the Deeds of Bravery Council – said such heroism too frequently went unacknowledged.

Nominations sought

It was absolutely right, he said, that recipients be given medals and citations in Farmleigh, surrounded by family members, the Garda and leading civilian figures. But he said he was concerned many were not aware of the scheme, and appealed for others to come forward to nominate people.

Among yesterday’s other recipients were Sligo-based gardaí Trevor Keating and James Conneely, and member of the public Rory O’Connor, who rescued a man from the Garavogue river.

Civilians Pearse Ward and Frank McManamon were honoured for their bravery for preventing an attack on a woman at the Central Bank Plaza, in Dublin.

Off-duty paramedic Martin Whitmore got a silver medal and certificate of bravery for pulling a woman from the River Barrow at Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny.

Seán Sharkey and gardaí Tommy Fay and Tom McKenna were honoured for rescuing a man from Lough Ramor in Co Cavan.

Dubliner Eric Grundy and his friend Gareth Nathan got a certificate of bravery for rescuing a woman from the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin.