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Leader praised for rescue of children from sea

7th July 2009

Three children and their summer school group leaders were taken to Letterkenny General Hospital yesterday (6th July) after they got into difficulties in the sea at Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, reports Paddy Clancy in today's Irish Times.

The half-hour drama at An Trá Mór began when some children ran into the sea after a ball that was swept out by a current. The youngsters, two girls (12) and a boy (13), were among a group of 13 children on an outing with an Óige na Gaeltachta summer camp.
Large waves and strong currents put them in difficulty. Their 18-year-old group leader went in after them and helped pull a number of children to safety before he also got into difficulty and had to be rescued by onlookers.
Seán Ó Fearraigh of Óige na Gaeltachta Donegal praised the children’s leader, Ciarán McFadden for his part in the rescues. Mr Ó Fearraigh said: “It could have been a lot worse but for the prompt action of the leader. Children could have been drowned but thanks to their leader they weren’t. Then he got into difficulty himself and somebody had to rescue him.”
There are no lifeguards on the popular beach, which is near the Glencolmcille Folk Village, though it’s described by locals as one on which care has to be taken.
One resident said: “It’s safe for the most part but like any beach on the Atlantic it can be dangerous in parts, especially up around the rocks.”
One child at the centre of the drama is understood to be connected to local Naomh Columba GAA club chairman Ruaidhrí Ó Cuirrín. He was on his way to a GAA garden party hosted by President Mary McAleese when word of the incident reached him and he did a u-turn at the Áras an Uachtaráin gates.
A HSE spokesman said all four taken to hospital were “fine”.

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