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Bravery awards for our modest heroes

Tears of joy were shed today as the State recognised courageous people for outstanding acts of bravery.

Bernadette Eustace wept as her daughter, Cherie (29), was praised for rescuing her grandfather from their smoke-filled home in the early hours of the morning.

The family of Paddy Sean Fogarty was also honoured in memory of the man who drowned trying to save a friend in treacherous waters 21 years ago.

The National Bravery Awards were presented at a civic ceremony in Leinster House by the Ceann Comhairle, Seamus Kirk.

Off-duty firefighter Thomas Falconer was presented with a gold award for saving a person from a house fire on Mayor's Walk, Waterford, on September 12, 1999.


Mr Falconer entered the property and crawled through thick smoke and pulled the unconscious person to safety.

A memorial gold medal was awarded in honour of Mr Fogarty, who drowned on July 26, 1989, at Inny Strand, Co Kerry, as he attempted to save Fr Willie Murphy.

Despite treacherous conditions, Mr Fogarty swam out to Fr Murphy who was in difficulty. Both men drowned.

Ms Eustace was presented with her silver award for going upstairs to help her grandad in their burning flat in Bishop Street, Dublin, on July 24, 2005.

She shouted for help through a window until firefighters rescued the pair. Silver medals were also presented to Conor Doherty, Ryan Hamill, David McGowan and John Shanahan.