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Mayor of Clare Mary Howard presenting Daisy the dog with the first and only Clare Covid Doggy Hero Award after saving her owner Bernard Bommer Hanrahan from his hope on December 27th 2020. Photograph by John Kelly

Covid Hero award for Daisy the life-saving dog

A LIFE-SAVING dog who helped its owner escape from a devastating fire has been hailed as a ‘Clare Covid Hero’.
Former county councillor and well-known Clarecastle man Bernard Hanrahan narrowly escaped with his life after his home was engulfed in flames late last year.
Bernard, known locally as the Bomber, was saved after being alerted to the blaze at his home in Barntick by his beloved dog Daisy’s incessant barking in the early hours of the morning.
Daisy has now been named among the winners of the Clare Covid Hero award celebrating the county’s everyday heroes who have been supporting others during the pandemic.
Luckily nobody was injured in the fire, however the house, which had been in the family for three generations, was extensively damaged and priceless photographs and memorabilia have been lost.
The award certificate was presented to Daisy this week by Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Mary Howard, who also had a surprise for Bernard.
She was so touched when she heard about the loss of his life-times worth of memories that she managed to gather together some images from his life as a public representative and family photographs which she presented to him in a small album.
Speaking to The Champion about Daisy’s award Bernard said, “I was over the moon when Mary spoke to me about the award.
“It’s a one off, really and truly, and something I never thought of happening. I’m just delighted that Mary would think of Daisy.”
Laughing, he said his famous dog is now “getting more recognition than me” with everyone he meets asking about Daisy.
He urged people to be aware of the dangers of fire in the home, and praised Daisy for saving his life on that fateful night.
“I love her to bits, she’s been a great friend to me. I find a comfort in having her with me. Since my wife died six years ago Daisy has been great company, she’s just marvellous.”
Bernard has been unable to move back into the family home with works still ongoing to repair the damage, and he has just been told that the house will need to be entirely re-roofed adding to the expense.
A fundraising initiative was started by the Clarecastle community to support Bernard following the fire which has been inundated with support.
“I want to acknowledge Seamus O’Sullivan, Angela Coll and the committee for what they have done. I know the last thing you want is to be asking people for money, especially at this time in the country, but the response was brilliant.
“The amount of goodwill that was out there, I was overwhelmed,” said Bernard.
Explaining the idea behind the Clare Covid Hero award Councillor Howard said, “We’ve had a really, really difficult 14 months, and over those months there have been people throughout the county who just stepped up to the plate and took care of neighbours and friends and family in a very practical way.
“Whether it was getting groceries for older relatives and neighbours, doing repairs, phoning to check everything is ok, people were just looking out for each other out of the goodness of their own hearts and not looking for any recognition.
“This award is just to say thank you to those that made a difference. It’s about community and neighbours looking out for one another.”
She said she has been delighted to see so many nominations coming in for people from all over the county who have shown community spirit during the pandemic.
“We have heard about some amazing people and I’m delighted to be able to say thank you to them for all they have done.”
It was Councillor Howard herself that nominated Daisy for the award.
“We’ve had great Covid heroes nominated in our community, and I thought it was important that Daisy be honoured.
“Only for Daisy we wouldn’t have Bomber, so I think she deserves a little award. I got to know the Bomber many years ago when I went to different events with my father, he’s a gentleman,” she said.
“When I saw what happened to him over Christmas I was shocked. You could see how easy it is to lose everything in a fire like that.”

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