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Second award for Clare garda

CLARE garda Joe Hayes is to receive his second national award this month for saving a drowning woman’s life last year.

The Irish Water Safety’s SEIKO Just In Time Award is presented to those who come to the assistance of a person in difficulties in water.

Garda Hayes, from Ennis, is being honoured for jumping into the River Shannon last June and rescuing a woman from the water.

The presentation will be made by Minister Fergus O’Dowd at Irish Water Safety’s National Awards Ceremony in Dublin Castle later this month.

Thirty-seven rescuers from 22 dramatic near-death incidents will receive recognition at Irish Water Safety’s National Awards Ceremony. Thirty-six lives were saved from drowning through the brave actions of Garda Hayes and other rescuers.

Fergus O’Dowd, TD Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources and Environment, Community & Local Government will present the SEIKO Just in Time Rescue Award to these rescuers in appreciation for saving so many lives.

“Tragically an average of 140 drownings occur in Ireland every year,” commented Minister O’Dowd, “and although that’s 140 too many, the figure would be even higher but for the dramatic efforts of these individuals who saved others from drowning and the ongoing work of volunteers teaching swimming and rescue skills. Last year, the 147 drownings in Ireland were higher than the annual average, reason enough to highlight the work of Irish Water Safety Volunteers and their partners in the public and private sector in educating more people on how best to enjoy our wonderful aquatic facilities more safely. Complacency around aquatic environments is simply not an option”.

“The tragic drownings during this summer’s warm weather brought home the need for constant vigilance around water. During the hot spell, 12 people drowned in two weeks and in July alone, lifeguards trained and assessed by Irish Water Safety, rescued 559 people from drowning,” he added.

Garda Hayes is a strong swimmer and was on his way to work at the time of the incident last June. He received a bronze medal and a certificate of bravery at the National Bravery Awards recently.

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