O’Flaherty award for rescue services
THE Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Weekend proved another success, with the highlight an evening in Killarney House to celebrate the Scarlet Pimpernel and the presentation of the annual International Humanitarian Award in his memory.
The Monsignor ensured the safety of over 6,500 civilians in Nazi-occupied Rome, and celebrating the bravery and humanitarianism of modern-day heroes, seven nominations were submitted to the independent award panel. The chosen three continue to ensure the public’s safety – the Irish Coast Guard, Kerry Mountain Rescue and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
It’s the first year that the award did not go to an individual nor to a single humanitarian organisation, and to commemorate these services, Mayor of Killarney Municipal District Cllr John Sheahan presented each with Humanitarian Award Citation Scrolls on behalf of the people of Killarney.
Representatives of the O’Flaherty family and Memorial Society presented the Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Medal, and the schools of Killarney Parish came together to generate a school’s bursary for the award recipients.
In presenting the awards, the mayor said that “the brave and selfless members of the Irish Rescue Services deserve not only our admiration, but our practical support in whatever way we can.”
The awards were accepted on behalf of the three organisations by Jimmy Laide (Kerry Mountain Rescue), John Draper (Irish Coast Guard) and Richard Quigley (RNLI).
Saturday’s awards ceremony also saw the official launch by Colm Cooper of Patricia Murphy’s novel ‘Leo’s War’, a book for young people based on Monsignor Hugh’s wartime activities.
Justice Hugh O’Flaherty (seated centre from left) presenting the O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Ward to Colm Burke and Jimmy Laide of Kerry Mountain Rescue, with KMR members (back) John Cronin, Bertie Hickey, Liam Ryan, Richard Stack, Margaret Griffin, Eamon O’Connor, John O’Sullivan, Piaras Kelly, John Hussey, Don Murphy, Mick Long, with Paul O’Neill, Killarney Chamber; Killarney Mayor John Sheahan; Sen Paul Coghlan, Jerry O’Grady.
ABOVE LEFT: Justice Hugh O’Flaherty (seated centre fromleft) presenting the O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award to Divisional Controller Irish Marine Rescue Station Valentia John Draper, Officer in Charge Dingle Frank Heidtke, Officer in Charge Ballybunion T J McCarron, Deputy Officer in charge Iveragh Jonathan Walsh, with Jerry O’Grady, O’Flaherty Committee; Paul O’Neill, Killarney Chamber of Commerce; Catherine O’Flaherty; and Sen Paul Coghlan.LEFT: Mayor John Sheahan and Justice Hugh O’Flaherty presenting the O’Flaherty Award to Richard Quinlan and Leo Houlihan of RNLI Valentia with (back from left)Paul O’Neill, Killarney Chamber of Commerce; Catherine O’Flaherty; Bishop Ray Browne; Sen Paul Coghlan; and Jerry O’Grady, O’Flaherty Committee, at Killarney House on Saturday.