Donegal rescue hero

Rescuers from nine dramatic near-death incidents, including one at Creevy, near Ballyshannon will receive recognition at Irish Water Safety’s National Awards Ceremony at St George’s Hall, Dublin Castle this afternoon. And the Donegal Democrat will also be there to pick up a special award for their coverage of water safety issues over the past year.

Rescuers from nine dramatic near-death incidents, including one at Creevy, near Ballyshannon will receive recognition at Irish Water Safety’s National Awards Ceremony at St George’s Hall, Dublin Castle this afternoon. And the Donegal Democrat will also be there to pick up a special award for their coverage of water safety issues over the past year.

On the morning of the 12th October 2010, Fishermen Dean Ward and his Grandfather Pat Ward noticed a man in distress in the water off Creevy Pier, near Ballyshannon. The man had been fishing and was thrown from his boat after the steering wheel broke.

Upon reaching the man, Dean & Pat discovered that the man was unconscious. They immediately called the emergency services. They pulled the man out of the water to safety onto the pier. The man was wearing a lifejacket and was in the water for almost an hour before he was rescued. Both Dean and Pat will be recognised by the IWSA for their heroism on the day.

The ‘Donegal Democrat’ will also receive this year’s Irish Water Safety’s ‘Media Appreciation Award’ for its coverage of water safety issues and consistently covering topical water safety issues to help reduce drownings.

Editor-in-Chief Donegal Democrat newspapers, Michael Daly commented: “The Donegal Democrat group of newspapers cover the longest stretch of coastline in Ireland, so it is incumbent on us to ensure that the water safety message gets out there as often as we can. We report on the tragedies, but we also report on those who are saved, both by the bravery of others and their own common sense approach, like observing local danger warnings and always wearing their lifejacket. It is a constant battle to reinforce that message in the minds of the general public and we take our role seriously in such matters. If it helps save one life, our message has been successful.”

Minister Phil Hogan will present the awards at the Irish Water Safety’s national annual awards ceremony in St. George’s Hall in Dublin Castle this adfternoon.

He said in advance. “Tragically 112 drownings occurred in Ireland last year and although that’s 112 too many, the figure would be even higher but for the dramatic efforts of these individuals who saved others from drowning and the ongoing work of volunteers teaching swimming and rescue skills.”

“Last year, drownings in Ireland were at their lowest for 58 years; reason enough to be confident that the work of Irish Water Safety Volunteers and partners in the public and private sector is having the desired outcome - more people enjoying our wonderful aquatic facilities more safely. That said complacency is not an option”, he added.

“I appeal to all adults to make themselves more aware of the dangers in, on and around water. “It only takes seconds for tragedy to strike and this can so easily be avoided if people take responsibility for their own safety by learning about the hazards. I ask that people encourage friends and family to read Irish Water Safety’s guidelines at www.iws.ie so that they don’t become a drowning statistics.”