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Rescue heroes honoured in Killarney

Richard Quigley, RNLI, John Draper, Irish Coast Guard and Jimmy Laide, Kerry Mountain Rescue, co-accept the 2018 Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award with Mayor of Killarney, Cllr John Sheahan (left), retired judge Hugh O’Flaherty and Jerry O’Grady, chairman, Monsignor O’Flaherty Memorial Committee.
Picture: Don MacMonagle

THE Kerry Mountain Rescue Team, the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have been honoured for their heroics at an event in Killarney.

They represented the Irish rescue services at the presentation of the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Humaitarian Award at a packed to capacity Killarney House on Saturday night.

For the first time, it was presented not to an individual humanitarian but to three life-saving organisations who have provided a remarkable service to the communities in which they serve.

Presenting the award, Mayor of Killarney, Cllr John Sheahan, remarked: “The brave and selfless members of the Irish rescue services deserve not only our admiration but our practical support in whatever way we can”.

Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty

President of Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, Paul O’Neill, reminded the gathering that for a county like Kerry, blessed with wonderful, adventurous landscapes of mountain, lake, river and Atlantic coastline, it is reassuring for visitors and locals alike to know that if they get into difficulty, they can call on some of best trained and committed rescue services to be found anywhere in the world.

They were nominated for the 2018 Humanitarian Award by Michael O’Connor who said: “They give up family and leisure time to train and respond to search and rescue call, and their bravery, selflessness and dedication is exemplary, greatly encouraging the next generation to follow suit”.

The awards were accepted on behalf of the three organisations by Jimmy Laide of the Kerry Mountain Rescue, John Draper of the Irish Coast Guard and Richard Quigley of the RNLI.

Previous recipients of the award were:

2015 award recipient Fr Sean Myers

2009: Sharon Commins and Hilda Kawuki, GOAL Aid Workers in Darfur in Africa.
2010: Fr Michael Sinnott, a Columban Missionary in the Philippines.
2011: Sally O’Neill, Director of Operations for Trócaire in South and Central America.
2012: Sr Agnes Hunt, a missionary in Zambia, who spent 16 years as the RC Chaplin at the high security Wormwood Scrubs Prison in the UK and worked as a volunteer for the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas.
2013: Tralee native Donal Walsh who was an inspirational international role model for youth when after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he spent the remaining time of his short life speaking tirelessly to his peers on recognising the priceless value of life.
2014: Dr John Beavis, the renowned orthopaedic surgeon who dedicated his life to helping those in medical need at natural and man-made disaster events around the world.
2015: Fr Sean Myers, the Killarney born Redemptorist Missionary to Brazil who continues to serve the needs of his 27,000 parishioners.
2016: Fr Shay Cullen, a Columban Missionary who established the PREDA Foundation in Olongapo City, in the Philippines in 1974 to promote human rights, justice and peace.
2017: Loreto nun Sr Orla Treacy who helped establish a mission in war-torn Sudan, establishing a primary and secondary school in Rumbek.

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