Belfast Telegraph

Heroic acts recognised at ceremony

Tears of joy were shed as the State recognised courageous people for outstanding acts of bravery.

Bernadette Eustace wept as her daughter Cherie was praised for rescuing her grandfather from their smoke-filled home in the early hours of the morning.

The family of Paddy Sean Fogarty was also honoured in memory of the man who drowned trying to save a friend in treacherous waters 21 years ago.

The National Bravery Awards were presented at a civic ceremony in Leinster House by the Ceann Comhairle Seamus Kirk.

"These honours are richly deserved and the awards are a fitting tribute and recognise heroic acts by members of the public as well as members of our emergency services, many of whom without regard for their own personal safety, put their lives on the line to help others," said Mr Kirk.

"Their families, friends, neighbours, communities and, indeed, all of us should be justifiably proud of their achievements and their extraordinary feats of bravery."

Off-duty firefighter Thomas Falconer was presented with a gold award for saving a person from a house fire on Mayor's Walk, Waterford, on September 12, 1999.

Mr Falconer entered the blazing property and crawled through thick smoke and pulled a person he found lying face down and unconscious to safety.

A memorial gold medal was awarded in honour of Mr Fogarty, who drowned on July 26 1989 at Inny Strand, Co Kerry, as he attempted to save Fr Willie Murphy.

Despite treacherous conditions, breaking waves and a powerful swell, Mr Fogarty swam out to Fr Murphy who was in difficulty. Both men drowned.

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