THREE Junior Certificate students from Ennis have been hailed as heroines by Clare Civil Defence chief Liam Griffin this week after their quick thinking helped save the life of a woman who got into difficulty after going into the River Fergus to retrieve her dog.
Rice College students Ellen McMahon (15), Aisling O’Sullivan (15) and Eve Copley (15) came to the rescue of a woman, who hasn’t been identified, who was out walking her dog on Tuesday evening last near Steele’s Rock in the Lifford area the town.
“The three of us were walking past at about 7.15pm, having been up town for something to eat after our Business Studies exam,” revealed Ms McMahon. “When we were passing, the woman was standing behind the wall and the dog was on the steps at Steele’s Rock. We walked on a bit and, when we looked back, the dog was being dragged downstream and the woman had moved to the steps and was calling him.
“Then she went in after the dog and was taken away by the flow of the water down towards the FBD offices. She was very tired because she had swum out to get the dog and the current was so strong there was no way she would have been able to swim back to the steps,” she added.
The three students quickly raced back to get the lifebuoy that’s located near Steele’s Rock and came to the aid of the woman, who was getting into difficulty.
“She had a hold of the dog and we raced up got the lifebuoy and threw it in to her and slowly dragged her in. We didn’t get her name because, after being soaked to the skin, she got a drive home from a passing motorist,” revealed Ms McMahon.
“Their quick thinking helped save that woman’s life,” Clare Civil Defence chief Liam Griffin told The Clare People. “It just shows the importance of lifebuoys,” he added, “because sometimes they get vandalised and the people who do that can cost a life. Luckily in this case, it was there and the girls were able to use it and come to the rescue of the woman.”

Above: Helen McMahon, Aisling O’Sullivan and Eve Copley, Junior Cert students of Rice College, Ennis, pictured on Thursday at the spot where they saved a woman from drowning on Tuesday evening. Brian Arthur/ Press 22

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

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