Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Water Safety Ireland Honours Rescuers: Fifteen Lives Saved From Drowning

7th December 2022
Water Safety Ireland CEO Joanne Walsh at the 2022 online National Awards Ceremony
Water Safety Ireland CEO Joanne Walsh at the 2022 online National Awards Ceremony Credit: via WSI on Facebook

Fifteen lives were saved from drowning by rescuers who received recognition at Water Safety Ireland’s National Annual Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, 6th December, at 7 pm.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, acknowledged recipients of the ‘Seiko Just in Time Rescue Award’ and other awards in appreciation for saving fifteen lives.

“Tonight, four women and 14 men are being recognised for doing something absolutely remarkable – that’s saving a life,” Minister Humphreys said.

“You’re being recognised for your determination. For your strength. For looking out for others. And for your extraordinary displays of courage.

“I am deeply honoured to pay tribute to these deserving award recipients”, she added.

Among the other recipients to receive awards are 30 volunteers who will be presented with Long-Service Volunteer Awards, recognising a combined total of 545 years of personal service teaching swimming, water rescue and survival skills in communities nationwide.

Minister Humphreys continued: “Also tonight, I want to say to the people who coach and train people in swimming and lifesaving all over the country: you too are saving lives by enabling others to do so.

“Without the coaches, the trainers and the teachers, we would not have the large volume of lifesavers around our country that we can be so proud of.”

Water Safety Ireland CEO Joanne Walsh stated: “I would ask that we all remain aware of the dangers of drowning”.

“Drownings can happen quickly and silently but with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes everyone can avoid the hazards and take responsibility for their own safety. Start a water safety conversation with your family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to read Water Safety Ireland’s guidelines at so they can enjoy Ireland’s waterways safely.”

The Rescue Appreciation Award and Seiko Just in Time Award, presented to those who helped save someone at risk of drowning.

1. Garda Sarah Lynam – Dublin

Last August, Garda Sarah Lynam, a former competitive swimmer, became alerted to the fact that a person was in distress in the water at Bachelor’s Quay. She ran from the GPO on O’Connell Street, removed her stab vest and utility belt and swam to the casualty. Once out of the water, she noticed he was not responsive, so she began CPR and he made a full recovery.

2. Francis Doherty and Maureen Devenney – Donegal 

Last May, Maureen Devenney and her sister got pulled out to sea by a strong current. Maureen encouraged her sister to kick her legs and turn over onto her back while Maureen swam to the shore where she got help from Francis who swam out with a ringbuoy and started for shore. Meanwhile, Maureen had organised a chain of six people to wade out chest deep and bring both to safety.

3. John Timlin – Kerry

Last August 2022, John had just finished a surf lesson at Fermoyle strand, Castlegregory, in Kerry. Suddenly he saw swimmers in difficulty, caught in a rip current. He quickly grabbed a surfboard and paddled out. It took some time to get through the high waves. Eventually, he spotted a motionless girl, weak and semi-conscious, pulled her up onto the board and began a challenging paddle to shore through dangerous conditions. He placed her into the recovery position and after coughing up a lot of water, was kept warm with blankets from his van until emergency services arrived. Thankfully, she made a full recovery.

4. Sarah Cooke – Offaly

Last July, Sarah was teaching a water safety class at Banagher pool in Offaly. A young man at the other end of the pool got into difficulty so she grabbed a ringbuoy, instructed her class to vacate the pool and brought him to safety.

5. Sergeant Brendan Byrne and Garda Ronan Allen – Dublin

In August 2019, Gardai Brendan Byrne and Ronan Allen responded to a 999 call that a man was in the river Liffey. When they arrived, two men were in difficulty. Garda Allen entered the water and reached them with a ringbuoy. Sergeant Byrne pulled the rope towards a ladder where Dublin Fire Brigade soon arrived at the scene and helped to take all three people out of the water to safety.

6. David Caulfield, Dylan Putthaaree and Glen Wightman – Wexford 

In August 2021, David Caulfield was driving along the quays by the river Barrow in New Ross, Co Wexford. He saw a man in the water and immediately jumped in and pulled him towards the riverbank where a passing boat spotted them and pulled them both to safety.

7. Paul Sweeney and Garda Mark O'Sullivan - Donegal 

In December 2021, Paul Sweeney saw a young man was in difficulty at Rathmullen pier, Donegal. He entered the water and managed to reach the young man. Garda Mark O Sullivan arrived, grabbed a ringbuoy and entered the water. Both men kept the casualty afloat until emergency services arrived. The hypothermic young man was brought to hospital where he made a full recovery.

8. Jonathan Monroe – Galway

Last July, Jonathan was on his way to work when he saw a person in distress in the Eglinton canal in Galway city. Gary entered the water, reached the man and pulled him to safety. He stayed with the casualty until emergency services arrived. The casualty made a full recovery.

9. Mikey O'Siochrú – Dublin

Last August, Mikey had just come off duty as a lifeguard in Sandycove, when he was alerted to a woman in distress in the water. A seal was attacking the woman. He entered the water with a flotation device and upon reaching her, saw that she was injured. Mikey calmed the situation and brought her safely to shore where she received medical assistance for her wounds and made a full recovery.

10. Saoirse Maloney – Waterford 

Last July Saoirse was alerted that a woman was at risk of drowning in a cove in Ardmore. Saoirse swam to her rescue and brought her to safety. The woman was very disorientated but Saoirse continued to reassure her.

11. Patrick Gordon – Clare

Last July, Patrick was out surfing in strong winds with a friend when they heard a swimmer shouting for help after getting pulled from shore by a rip current. He immediately paddled towards the swimmer and told his friend to make for shore to get help. Patrick took his friend’s board, reached the exhausted swimmer, and got him to hold onto the board until he regained his breath and was able to make it safely back to shore.

12. Josh Marley – Donegal 

In August 2021, Josh became alerted to a person in distress in the water at Lifford bridge, Donegal. He immediately entered the river and managed to reach the woman and bring her to the safety of the riverbank where the emergency services took over.

13. Miley Doran – Carlow

In May 2021, Miley discovered two people, a mother and daughter, in difficulty in the River Barrow. Miley immediately jumped into the water and managed to bring the young girl to safety, before entering the water once more to rescue her mother. An incredible act of courage.

Long Service Awards

Long Service Awards are presented in recognition of a voluntary commitment to promoting a public awareness of water safety and rescue. Water Safety Ireland extends a sincere debt of gratitude to the following WSI volunteers.

10 Years of Service

Gerry Bruton, Offaly
James Murray, Offaly
Pamela McGrath, Clare
Yvonne Byrne, Kildare
Catherine Poole, Kildare
Billy Cantillon, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Stephen Ryan, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick

15 Years of Service

Brendan Devlin, Louth
Bryan Corcoran, Kildare
Susan Corcoran, Kildare
Brenda Maye, Kildare
Patrick Maye, Kildare
Sam Murray, Kildare
Ian Cunningham, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Joe Morgan, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Tom Cusack, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Tony Slattery, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Valerie Stundon. Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick

20 Years of Service

Ciara O Sullivan, Limerick
Jonathan Broderick, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Kieran Goodisson, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Peter Hogan, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
David Finn, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Diarmuid Moriarty, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Ken Moore, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick

30 Years of Service

May Coyle, Louth
Mal Sherlock, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Trevor Sheehan, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick

40 Years of Service

Aisling Cushen, Dublin
Jimmy Reilly, Dublin

Published in Water Safety Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button