Two Burtonport men have received a Bronze National Bravery Award at Farmleigh.
The Bravery awards were set up in 1947 to recognise those who risked their lives to save others and are administered by Comhairle Na Míre Gaile – the Deeds of Bravery Council – which is chaired by Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD.
The rescue took place near Roan Inish island on August 22, 1956.
The two men, now in their 80s, traveled to Farmleigh House in Dublin to receive a national bravery award.
They had set out in their father's half decker from Portnoo to check lobster pots when a punt with 15 people on board was swamped by waves.
Along with some relatives who were nearby, they used ropes and boat hooks to pull people from the water. They also towed a yacht that got in difficulty during the rescue into shore.
Twelve people from the punt and three crew from the yacht were rescued.
Two adults and one child drowned - George Warren (55), a solicitor from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, Desmond Mavitty (49), a shoe salesman based in Dublin, and Christopher Chambers,7, from Belfast.
Twenty people received Bravery awards, including one posthumous honour, at the occasion in Farmleigh house.
The Ceann Comhairle said: “The National Bravery Awards give us an opportunity to celebrate the courage of our emergency services and people who risk their own safety to protect their fellow citizens. It is important to recognise the sacrifices made by people whose selflessness can serve to remind us of our duty of care to one another. It is an honour to present these 20 Bravery Awards today, including the posthumous award, and I thank all recipients for their courage.”
The Deeds of Bravery Council includes the Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, the Lord Mayors of Dublin and Cork, the Garda Commissioner, the President of the Association of City & County Councils and the Chair of the Irish Red Cross. The Council may award Gold, Silver or Bronze medals as well as Certificates of Bravery.
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