Above: Mark O’Mahony from Ballydehob
Mark O’Mahony from West Cork was honoured for his act of courage in a sea rescue at the prestigious National Bravery Awards ceremony in Farmleigh House in Dublin last week.
On May 29, 2013, three men had to swim to Horse Island near Ballydehob, after their small vessel sank. They tried to swim the 1.5 km to shore began to get into difficulties as a result of swirling currents. Local man Mark O’Mahony was swimming near the shore and heard the three men’s cries for help. After telling his wife to raise the alarm, he got into his kayak and reached one of the swimmers, in spite of a broken paddle, strong tides and gusting winds. Two lifeboats from Baltimore RNLI soon arrived and Mr O’Mahony pointed them in the direction of the other two swimmers. The three men were brought to shore and then transferred by Irish Coastguard helicopter to Cork University Hospital.
There is no doubt that but for the courageous actions of Mr. Mark O’Mahony the incident may have resulted in loss of life. Mr. O’Mahony displayed considerable courage in the actions he took. Without his swift actions the three young men concerned may well have perished. Mark O’Mahony was also awarded a Bronze Medal and Certificate of Bravery for his efforts.
Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett, TD presented 21 awards in all for outstanding acts of bravery at a national ceremony in Farmleigh House on Friday, October 24.
The honours are awarded by Comhairle na Mire Gaile – the Deeds of Bravery Council – which was established in 1947 to provide for suitable recognition by the State of deeds of bravery. The Council, which is chaired by the Ceann Comhairle, includes the Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, the Lord Mayor of Cork, the Garda Commissioner, the President of the Association of City & County Councils and the Chairman of the Irish Red Cross.
The Council may award medals in either Gold, Silver or Bronze categories. Certificates of recognition may also be awarded. At the ceremony this afternoon, two of the medals were Silver and 13 were Bronze. The Council hopes that this high profile ceremony will draw deserved attention to the brave actions of the recipients and heighten awareness of this national awards scheme generally.
Congratulating all concerned, Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett, TD, said: “Today we celebrate the actions of 20 very brave people from every corner of the country, who, through their selfless acts of courage have helped other people. In going to the aid of others at great risk to their own safety, our award winners have brought great pride to themselves and their families and great happiness to the people and the families of those they have helped.”
“The Bravery Awards are the only such awards made by the Irish State to its citizens. It is fitting that these courageous acts of bravery are acknowledged and celebrated, as we have done in the stunning surroundings of Farmleigh House today. One cannot fail to be impressed by the strength of spirit shown by the recipients of these awards. It is that strength of spirit that makes our communities better places in which to live, that selfless sacrifice and endeavour that lifts us all and benefits us all. Our recipients have done themselves, their families, their communities and their country proud and we thank them all.”