A LIMERICK-based garda sergeant has been honoured for his role in a dramatic river rescue last year.
At around midnight on August 31, 2019 Sergeant Cathal O'Neill was on duty at Croom garda station when he was alerted to the fact that a person was in distress in the nearby River Maigue which passes through the village.
Sgt O'Neill quickly responded and using his local knowledge of the area he was able to locate the young woman and bring her to safety.
"I was wet before I ever went in because it was bucketing rain the same night and there was a swell in the river. At the same time, it's not the most treacherous of waterways you could find so I had to weigh up what I was going to do because if I did something reckless I was gong to cause more problems," he said.
In order to rescue the woman, the sergeant entered the water and having reached the woman he was able to drag her to the bank and safety.
First aid was administered at the scene and the woman was taken to University Hospital Limerick as a precaution.
She has made a full recovery and Sgt O'Neill this week received a Seiko “Just In Time” award for his efforts from Water Safety Ireland.
Speaking at Croom garda station this Friday, he said he is delighted to receive the award. "Tis nice to be recognised no matter who you are or what you do and it is a satisfying thing that you help someone else when they are in trouble like that," he told the Limerick Leader.
Superintendent Aileen Magner, head of the Newcastle West garda district, added: “I am proud to serve as a member of An Garda Síochána alongside people like Cathal. His bravery and dedication knows no bounds. He has taken our mission statement of ‘Keeping People Safe’ to another level.”
Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche has also congratulated Sgt O'Neil for his bravery and for receiving the award.
"What he did was exceptional, he put his life on the line and he helped save a young girl - 17 years of age - from the River Maigue. It was a great act and it has been recognised by Irish Water Safety and we are delighted that he has got that award," he said.