Thursday 22 March 2018

Hero who disarmed knife-man among 18 awarded for bravery

Garda Linda O'Donnell with her silver medal for bravery and her twin daughters, Eve and Mary (11) at Farmleigh House
Garda Linda O'Donnell with her silver medal for bravery and her twin daughters, Eve and Mary (11) at Farmleigh House yesterday
Padraig Sheahan with bronze medal
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A FATHER-of-four who rescued a woman from a violent knife-wielding attacker outside his home on Christmas night was among 18 people who were honoured yesterday for exceptional bravery.

Padraig Sheahan (42), from Ennis, Co Clare was relaxing with his family at their home on Christmas night when he heard a woman screaming "please help me" outside their door.

He ran outside and saw a man dragging a woman along the road with a knife held to her.

"He was quite rough with her. When I approached him she was in difficulty and lying on the ground trying to get away from him," he told the Irish Independent.

Mr Sheahan was finally able to disarm the attacker before gardai arrived.

"It was terrifying but it had a happy ending," he said of the incident in 2001.

He was rewarded with a bronze medal and certificate of bravery from Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett at the National Bravery Awards at Farmleigh House in Dublin.

Mr Sheahan's selfless act of courage was among the many acts of bravery by people who deserve official recognition for putting their own lives on the line, Mr Barrett said.

Garda Linda O'Donnell was walking with her family along the Ashe Quay in Fermoy, Co Cork on a day off in July, 2002, when she was approached by a frantic man and woman who saw a woman jump into the river.

Without any thought of the risk to herself, Gda O'Donnell climbed over the river wall and swam out to the woman and brought her back to safety.

She was awarded a silver medal and certificate of bravery for her act.

Student Shane Clarke (18), from Cavan, almost died saving the life of his friend Benas Vaitkunas when the pair capsized while rafting on the local Swellen Lake in July, 2009.

Mr Vaitkunas was unable to swim and quickly became submerged in the frigid lake.

But Mr Clarke kept trying to reassure him while local man Daniel Ivers who saw the incident unfold, swam out to the boys and found Mr Clarke under the water, unconscious.

He brought him to shore whilst another man, Alimzhan Nabiulin (37), saw what was happening and jumped in to rescue Mr Vaitkunas who was also unconscious. The two rescuers then administered CPR on the boys before they were rushed to hospital.

Mr Clarke ended up in hospital for several days afterwards suffering from hypothermia, pneumonia and post traumatic stress.

"I was under water for four minutes. You just don't realise you're drowning," he said.

"The doctor said I was just a few seconds away from death," he said.

He along with Mr Ivers and Mr Nabiulin were also awarded a bronze medal and certificate of bravery for their actions.

Garda Margaret Purcell, from Kilrush, Co Clare, also received a bronze medal and bravery certificate after she responded to an emergency call on St Patrick's Day, 2003, after a woman had plunged off the local pier and was found lying face down in the water.

Garda Purcell dived in and managed to bring her to shore.

The woman made a full recovery in hospital.

Irish Independent

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