Clare RNLI volunteers receive awards

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016
Kilrush RNLI returning from a shout – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

Members of the RNLI in Clare were honoured at the organisation’s annual Presentation of Awards at the Guinness Storehouse on Friday.

The charity presented 56 individual awards to volunteers from across the country including four from Clare.

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The awardees were honoured for their significant contribution to the RNLI in Ireland and years of dedicated and committed service to the charity. Many awardees were fundraising volunteers, recognised for years of service to the charity, while others were lifeboat crew who collected their long-service badges after many years on the lifeboat.

Guest of honour at the ceremony was outgoing RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease who will step down later this year after a successful term as Chairman of the Institution.

Speaking to the awardees and their friends and family during the ceremony, Charles Hunter-Pease commented; ‘To everyone receiving an award, whether their service has been at sea or ashore, please wear it with pride. It is the mark of someone very special, selflessly dedicated to the lives of others.’

‘Every day, all around our coastline, people come together to do something incredible for someone they’ve probably never met. Lifeboat crews put to sea not knowing what situation they will face. It also takes determination to raise funds.  It’s a determination that sees people raise astonishing sums to keep our service running, and that is no small feat, it requires endless talent, imagination and energy.’

Mr. David Delamer Chairperson of the RNLI Council in Ireland formally opened the proceeded and who welcomed the volunteers and their families to the ceremony. The citations for each awardee were read by Emma Gibson RNLI Area Manager and Owen Medland RNLI Divisional Operations Manager for Ireland central.

 The Clare awardees citations were:

Mr Joe Queally from the Ennis RNLI Branch received a Gold Badge. Since Joe Queally joined the Ennis branch he has raised both the profile and awareness of the lifeboat service in Clare.  Popular and well respected locally his efforts contribute hugely to the smooth running of the branch and local fundraising events.  Joe is always willing to represent the RNLI locally, and this award is well deserved.

Photo: Tara Murphy
Joe Queally of the Ennis RNLI branch – Photo: Tara Murphy

Fintan Keating from Kilrush RNLI Station Branch received a Gold Badge. 

Formerly shore crew and now a Deputy Launching Authority at Kilrush Lifeboat Station Fintan Keating was one of the station’s original volunteers when the station was established in 1994.

Photo: Tara Murphy
Fintan Keating of Kilrush RNLI – Photo: Tara Murphy

Declan O’Donovan from Kilrush Station Branch also received a Gold Badge 

Declan served initially as a crewmember at Kilrush RNLI for 12 years and he became the Station Treasurer 10 years ago due to his professional skills. Diligent and hardworking with good attention to detail he is an asset to the station. 

Photo: Tara Murphy
Donal O’Donovan from Kilrush RNLI – Photo: Tara Murphy

Mr Fintan Keating Jnr from Kilrush RNLI Station Branch received his Long Service Badge. Fintan Keating Jnr followed his father into the RNLI team at Kilrush by joining the crew in 1996 two years after the station opened and soon became a helmsman due to his professional maritime skills. This badge marks 20 years’ service to the RNLI.

Awardees were present from across Ireland representing lifeboat stations and branches in Dublin, Wicklow, Galway, Cork, Waterford, Mayo, Wexford, Kerry, Donegal, Clare, Limerick and Athlone.

One of the highest honours of the evening went to Ian Walsh who recently retired 

as Lifeboat Operations Manager with Helvick Head RNLI. During the evening, along with the Honorary Lifeboat Governorship award, there were 31 Gold Badges, 12 Bar to Gold Badges, one Certificate of Thanks and 12 Long Service Badges presented by the Chairman.

Video: Pat Flynn

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