Pictured left to right: Pat McArdle, Mullingar Sailing Club, Clare McGrath, Chair, Water Safety Ireland Minister Thomas Byrne, Kieran Milnar, Mullingar Sailing Club, Garda Nora Cloherty, Garda Claire Davis and Superintendent Sean Fallon, at the Water Safety Ireland National Awards Ceremony in Dublin Castle on November 14.

Offaly Garda honoured for water rescue

An Offaly Garda was honoured this week with a national award for helping in the rescue of a man from a Westmeath lake in 2021.

Garda Claire Davis, originally from Tullamore, was honoured by Water Safety Ireland, along with her colleague Garda Nora Cloherty, and two members of Mullingar Sailing Club, Kieran Milner and Pat McArdle.

Garda Davis, who at the time was stationed in Mullingar, was among 55 recipients of Seiko Just in Time Awards and rescue appreciation awards for saving 29 people at risk of drowning.

The ceremony took place at the Printworks Event and Exhibition Centre, Dublin Castle on Tuesday.

In June of 2021, at Lough Owel, Mullingar, Gardaí Davis, and Cloherty were alerted that a man had entered the water at a popular swimming and diving spot at Portnashangan, a couple of miles out of Mullingar town on the main N4 Mullingar to Sligo road.

They contacted a member of the local sailing club and requested urgent assistance. They then accompanied two members of the club and launched a Rib. On locating the person in the water, both Gardaí managed to drag him out of the water and bring the man ashore at the diving board where crews from the Fire Service and the National Ambulance Service were in attendance. The man was brought to the Midland Regional Hospital at Mullingar for treatment where he made a full recovery.

Water Safety Ireland CEO Joanne Walsh stated: “We all know that safety is a small investment required for the delivery of a rich future and in order to make this happen we need everyone to be water safety aware and water safety conscious. Drownings can happen quickly and silently but with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes everyone can avoid the hazards and take responsibility for their own safety. Start a water safety conversation with your family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to read Water Safety Ireland’s guidelines at www.watersafety.ie so they can enjoy Ireland’s waterways safely.”