THREE gardai were given a special honor today for going above the call of duty to save a woman's life after she fell into a river last Wednesday.
Garda Ciaran Murray, Garda Ciara Galvin, and Garda Brendan Crawford were presented with certificates for rescuing Ann Lam (55) and her dog Millie from River Camac, in Knockmitten Park, Clondalkin.
The brave officers were commended alongside local Alan Fleming and his grandson Evan (4), who raised the alarm with gardai after they spotted Ms Lam in the water.
Garda Chief Supt Finbarr Murphy, who presented the gardai with their certificates, said their actions are an example of the bravery gardai across the country show every day.
"It makes me very proud as a police manager when you see people of this calibre in An Garda Síochána," he said,
"It's an example of the commitment and dedication of young guards, and it's an example of what goes on every day throughout the country where younger guards are prepared to risk their own lives and their own safety for the protection of the people in the community."
Alan (59) and Evan were given a certificate for exceptional civic duty after making the phone call that alerted gardai to the incident and to acknowledge the role they played in saving Ms Lam's life.
Alan, who served in the army for 33 years, said was not surprised to receive the honour.
"I thought no more about it until I got a call from the guards to say the woman wanted to thank me. The guards said this might have ended badly for her if I didn't make the phonecall. They said they wanted to present myself and my grandchild with something. In fairness to the guards, they deserve a lot of applause."
Alan said he was out for a walk with his grandson when the terrifying ordeal unfolded.
He had stopped to take pictures of an overflown Camac River when he spotted Ms Lam being pulled into the river by her dog at the corner of his eye.
He said: "I turned to my grandson and I said, 'there's a woman there and getting pulled by her dog.' Then I looked around and she was gone, so I said I better go over because it didn't look right.
"It was in a particular area where the water was very severe. I looked up along the pathway and I couldn't see her. She was gone in the water.
"I got to a bit of an advantage spot where I could actually see down through the tunnel and I caught a glimpse of something moving in the tunnel and I thought 'that's her.' I was with my grandchild so I couldn't get in myself because he'd probably follow me in. I thought the best thing to do was to ring the guards straight away."
Evan kept an eye out for gardai while Alan told Ms Lam that help was on the way.
"My grandson called out that they were there, it was only three or four minutes before they arrived. My grandson was waving at them to tell them where we were. The guards come down, I basically gave them a brief outline of what happened and what I had seen. The guards couldn't hear or see her but I could direct them to where she was."
Two gardai then pulled Ms Lam from the water out while a third helped calm her down.
Ms Lam said if it wasn't for the Alan, Evan and the gardai she doesn't know if she would have survived.
"[Millie] slipped and fell into the river. The waves were quite strong. Somehow I managed to hold on to Millie hold on up against the wall.
"At that stage and I was beginning to feel really tired. I had went under the water about three or four times. God must of been there, somebody had to be there to help me and to give me the strength to hold on the wall until the guards came. I think if they hadn't have come when they did I don't know what would have happened," she said.
"I was shocked. I could just feel yourself going into the water, and I must oppose me is at one stage when I hit the water. And it was when I opened them up and I actually seen, it was just scary."
Ms Lam said the three gardai, Alan and Evan are her "heroes".
Garda Murray and Garda Crawford managed to safely retrieve Ms Lam from the choppy waters with the use of some rope.
"Between me and Ciaran we made the decision that we were going to have to go in. Ciara luckily came along with the rope. We had two pieces of rope, a short piece and a long piece. I gave Ciaran the short piece and Ciara had the long piece.
"We kind of just went in, the rope was too short so I let the rope go and we just waded down towards Ann. Ciaran got Ann, and handed me Millie the dog. We passed her on to Ciara then."
Garda Galvin, who only became a member of An Garda Síochána four months ago, said Ms Lam "had a few cuts but I don't think she even noticed."
"She was just so shaken up and she was so cold. We just had to get her heavy jacket and wet clothes off her and get her warm. I think we put a uniform on her," she added.