Davitt Walsh gets bravery medal

National Bravery Awards

By Staff Reporter

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Davitt Walsh gets bravery medal

Sgt Mattie Murphy and Garda John Prunty

Staff Reporter news@donegaldemocrat.com@dgldemocrat

Donegal man Davitt Walsh has been honoured with another award for his bravery in rescuing a baby in the Buncrana pier tragedy earlier this year.

Mr Walsh, from Kerrykeel, received a silver medal at National Bravery Awards which were presented at Farmleigh House in Dublin on Friday.

Two gardaí also received an award for rescuing a man from a fire in Castlefinn in 2012.

The award is the latest for Mr Walsh who has been hailed a hero in Ireland and abroad after rescuing baby Rionaghac-Ann McGrotty when a family car went off a slip at Buncrana pier and into the Lough Swilly.

Five members of her family drowned in the tragedy.

Mr Walsh swam out to the car and took the baby from her father as the vehicle started to go down.

He lost his grip on another child he was trying to pull to safety.

Rionaghac-Ann’s father Sean McGrotty died alongside his young sons Mark and Evan, his mother-in-law Ruth and her daughter Jodie-Lee.

Bronze medals were awarded to two gardaí who rescued a man from a fire in Castlefinn in May 2012.

Sgt Mattie Murphy and Garda John Prunty were called to a fire in a housing estate. A man had barricaded himself in the house and threatened to harm himself and others.

Sgt Murphy said it was essential they entered the house and got the man out — together, they forced open the front door.

Facing danger from the fire and a potentially violent man, the gardaí made their way through the hall by crawling through the smoke, checking each room as they passed.

They found the young man lying unconscious on the floor and brought him to a safe area at the front of the house.

“Once we established there was an immediate danger with the smell of gas and fumes in the house we knew we had to act fairly quick,” said Sgt Murphy. “Trying to get a good resolution to the situation was the main priority. So we did not think twice about it.”

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó’ Fearghaíl TD, presented 29 awards in recognition of outstanding acts of bravery at a national ceremony in Farmleigh House.

The honours were awarded by the Deeds of Bravery Council.