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Saturday 20 September 2014

Singer Damien Dempsey hailed a hero for saving two men from drowning

Melanie Finn, Laura Larkin and Joyce Fegan

Published 24/06/2014 | 06:46

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Singer Damien Dempsey
Singer Damien Dempsey paid a visit to his old school to sing with First class during their End of Year Play  Scoil Bhride,Donaghmede,he is pictured with Zane Gibson (6)
Singer Damien Dempsey paid a visit to his old school to sing with first class during their end of year Play Scoil Bhride,Donaghmede. Here he performs with Zane Gibson (6)

SINGER Damien Dempsey was praised after saving two young men from drowning - all with the aid of a sheet.

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The rescue took place from the River Slaney on Sunday afternoon hours before he performed a sound check at gig in Enniscorthy Co Wexford.

The singer explained how him and his crew had just pulled up to their concert venue on Sunday when they saw two men in the river.

“One of them was bobbing up and down and trying to come up for air. He was obviously struggling to keep afloat and his friend couldn’t keep him up for long,” Mr Dempsey said.

Explaining how he saved their lives Mr Dempsey said: “I happened to find a sheet, waded into the river, not too deep and threw it to the lad who grabbed it so I could pull him in.”

The Dublin singer said that he is quite an experienced swimmer but even he was reluctant to go in after the young men at first.

“I wasn’t going to go in as people often get pulled down by the person they are saving and get into trouble themselves,” he said.

“I do a lot of sea swimming and have a good few friends who are lifeguards who say the last thing you ever do is dive into the water if you can help it. You need a connection with the land.”

A small crowd gathered around the scene. But the singer remained his modest self after the successful rescue.

“I shouted well done mate but he didn’t answer me, he had no interest in any praise whatsoever,” said eyewitness Mark Ronan.

And as a result of the singer’s efforts Irish Water Safety CEO John Leech said he could be a candidate for an Irish Water Safety award.

Meanwhile, the two teenage girls rescued by their friend, Ricky Osagie (13), who died while trying to save them last Friday, are both recovering at home.

The talented soccer player jumped into the water at Waterville Hall park in Blanchardstown last Friday evening to save two girls who had got into difficulty while swimming.

Tragically the Blanchardstown native also got into difficulty and died the following day.

The parents of Orlaith Opara, who was one of the girls rescued by Ricky, described him a as hero.

“It was heroic and tragic. We just thank God,” the parents said. “It could have been much worse. There could have been three lives lost.”

They have asked for privacy at this difficult time as the girls are recovering from the ordeal.

Irish Independent

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