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Friday 21 July 2017

Hero has seen it all on the frontlines of first aid

Ken Sweeney

Ken Sweeney

From German bombs in The Emergency to English football hooligans on the loose at Lansdowne Road in 1995 -- St John's Ambulance man Noel Brady has been on hand in striped hat and with trusty first-aid kit.

He has attended more All-Irelands than Micheal O Muircheartaigh and rubbed shoulders with visiting Hollywood stars such as Bing Crosby.

And still, incredibly, at the age of 90 and after 70 years' service, Mr Brady remains a member of the brigade.

"We're there to help and, with the support of the people, that's what we do. I like to think I've helped a lot of people over the years and given them the attention they needed," Mr Brady told the Irish Independent.

It was at the outbreak of World War Two that the then 20-year-old volunteered for the St John's Ambulance Brigade to learn first aid.

A member of the 'ARP' or Air Raid Protection organisation, these skills helped him to save lives following the German bombing of Dublin's North Strand on the night of May 30-31, 1941.

"It must have been around midnight we heard the planes coming over. We didn't know they were German planes at the time but we noticed these little flashes.

"We knew when we heard the bombs, and the whole place lit up and we could see the sky was red.

"We had a first-aid station in the local station and we either sent people off to the hospital or off to the morgue," Mr Brady recalled.

By contrast, the retired dental technician found himself treating soccer fans at Lansdowne Road on February 15, 1995, when English football hooligans ran amok.

"The gardai saved everybody that night. It began with the hooligans singing, but then they started throwing masonry and stones. I wasn't nervous, just too busy looking after the injured. By the end of the evening, I was bandaging the English hooligans who started it but we treated them all the same," he said.

Earlier this year Patrick Plunkett, commissioner of the St John's Ambulance Brigade in Ireland, made a special presentation to Mr Brady at its HQ on Dublin's Leeson Street, to mark his years of service.

Irish Independent

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