Two Mayo gardai and a reserve garda were presented with National Bravery Awards at Farmleigh House in Dublin by Ceann Comhairle, Séan Barrett recently. Garda Mark Irwin was awarded with two bronze medals and a certificate of bravery and Garda John Boyle and reserve Garda Stephen Corrigan were both honoured with a bronze medal and a certificate of bravery at the ceremony.
At approximately 4am. on November 18 last, Garda John Boyle and Garda Mark Irwin, while patrolling the Westport Quay area, observed a car hanging at the edge of a pier. As they approached, they noticed a male in distress and when they went to the edge of the pier, the two gardaí saw a young man in the sea. It appeared that he had attempted to exit the car once it had crashed but had fallen 15 feet into the sea. Both gardaí decided to make their way down to him via a fixed ladder and entered the sea. They then dragged the man from the sea and carefully brought him back up the ladder and onto dry ground. He was subsequently brought to Mayo General Hospital where he made a full recovery. The water was at high tide, approximately 20 feet deep and the temperature was freezing at the time of the incident. The two gardaí involved displayed considerable bravery in the actions they took. Without the swift actions of both gardaí the man concerned may well have perished. For their efforts Garda Mark Irwin was awarded a bronze medal and certificate of bravery and Garda John Boyle was awarded a bronze medal and a certificate of bravery.
On the night of October 28 last, Garda Mark Irwin and Reserve Garda Stephen Corrigan were in pursuit of a car being driven erratically in Westport. In the face of increasingly dangerous driving, Garda Irwin made a decision to stop pursuing the vehicle for the safety of the general public. The vehicle soon afterwards veered off the road into Knappaghbeg Lake. On arriving at the accident scene, Garda Irwin and Reserve Garda Corrigan entered the lake as the car was on its roof and was submerged in the water. Although the driver was trapped in the vehicle the two gardaí managed to lift the driver’s head from under the water to an air pocket and keep him conscious until the fire brigade and ambulance arrived, about 20 minutes later. The driver was subsequently freed from the car and transferred to Mayo General Hospital where he received treatment for his injuries.
For their efforts Garda Mark Irwin was awarded his second bronze medal and certificate of bravery and Reserve Garda Stephen Corrigan was awarded a bronze medal and a certificate of bravery.