Five Mayo heroes were presented with national bravery awards at a ceremony in Farmleigh House on Friday.
The awards presented to Sean McHale, Martin Kavanagh, Martin O’Donnell, Patrick O’Donnell and Aideen Ryan from Mayo. They were among 21 awards presented by Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett TD in recognition of outstanding acts of bravery.
On the 25th October 1997, a major rescue was underway in an area known as “Lady’s Bay” near Belderrig in County Mayo.
A boat with a family of three and another person got into difficulty when the boat overturned after being hit by a wave.
Sean McHale, Martin Kavanagh, Martin O’Donnell and Patrick O’Donnell from Killala all played a part in that rescue which sadly took the lives of two people, one occupant of the boat and another person who was lost trying to rescue the others. Were it not for the seamanship, skill, ingenuity, and bravery of these four people more lives would have indeed been lost.
For their efforts, Sean McHale, Martin Kavanagh, Martin O’Donnell and Patrick O’Donnell were each awarded a Certificate of Bravery.
Doran’s Point rescue
At the same ceremony, Aideen Ryan, also from Killala, was awarded a Certificate of Bravery for her role in a water rescue.
On the 8th May 2002, a boat with a single male occupant floated out to sea at Doran’s Point in County Mayo. In his attempt to bring the boat back into shore the man got into difficulty.
On realising the seriousness of the situation Aideen Ryan entered the water and with the assistance of another passer-by, she succeeded in bringing both the man and his boat safely back to shore.