Thursday, October 13, 2022

On October 25, 1997 a major sea rescue was launched in an area known as Lady’s Bay near Belderrig.

On October 25, 1997 a major sea rescue was launched in an area known as Lady’s Bay near Belderrig.

A group, while exploring a sea cave became trapped at the rear of the cave due to sea conditions resulting in their boat sinking within the cave.

An extensive rescue operation commenced involving An Garda Síochána, RNLI Coast Guard, Grainne Uaile Search and Rescue Unit, local fishermen and the local community.

Over the next 17 hours, in one of the longest rescues in Irish history, Grainne Uaile clubman Michael Heffernan lost his life in the rescue.

The Garda Water Unit where flown by R115 to the scene and with the aid of the other agencies managed to rescue the survivors and recover two bodies one being that of Michael Heffernan.

As a result of the rescue a Gold Scott medal was awarded to Sergeant Ciarán Doyle and two silver Scott Medals were awarded to Garda Dave Mulhall and Garda Seán O’Connell, Josie Barrett from Grainne Uaile S & R unit, Séan McHale and Martin Kavanagh from Killala Coast Guard and fishermen Martin and Patrick O’ Donnell were awarded national bravery awards.

A commemoration ceremony will be held at Lacken Pier, Ballina on Saturday, October 29 at 2pm and afterwards refreshments in Gilvarry Pub, Killala. The cermony will remember Michael Heffernan his family and all those that participated in the rescue.

The ceremony will remember Michael Heffernan, his family and all those that participated in the rescue.

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