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Two local teens honoured at National Bravery Awards for fire rescue

Two local lads who rescued two men from a burning building in Fermoy 2 years ago were honoured at the National Bravery Awards in Dublin on Friday last.

Thursday, 7 November 2013
8:30 AM GMT

Two young local lads who rescued two men from a burning building in Fermoy two years ago were honoured at the National Bravery Awards at Farmleigh House in Dublin on Friday last.

Late at night on August 17, 2011, Cillian Mahon from Fermoy and Ryane Twomey from Kilworth were out celebrating their Leaving Cert results when they spotted a fire in an apartment building in the Patrick Street area of the town. They raced to the building, kicked open the main entrance to the apartment block and entered the building.

They went to the second floor where they again kicked down the door to the apartment where the fire was, and managed to locate and drag one man out. He told them a second man was still in the building. Cillian Mahon then alerted the emergency services while Ryane Twomey went back into the smoke-filled building and managed to bring the second person to safety before the gardai and fire brigade arrived.

Speaking about the rescue this week to The Avondhu, Ryane Twomey said he didn't stop to think that night, but just acted on instinct. While he managed to escape the effects of smoke inhalation by using his t-shirt to cover his nose and mouth, he did damage his knee during the rescue.

Ryane was surprised to hear, about a month ago, that he was to receive the award, which are presented annually for outstanding acts of bravery by Comhairle na Mire Gaile - the Deeds of Bravery Council which was set up in 1947 to allow the State recognise such acts.

After two years, in which time Ryane says he'd pretty much forgotten about the incident, "it was a nice surprise. I thought it had all blown over." Ryane and Cillian were each awarded a silver medal and Certificate of Bravery.

Ryane attended the awards ceremony at Farmleigh last Friday with his parents Michael Twomey and Suzanne Dempsey and his extended family. He's now a three-star private in the Army. He says his army buddies are giving him "a fierce slagging" over his award and 'hero' status.

Cillian Mahon attended the ceremony with his dad Pat Mahon, mum Mary O'Driscoll and grandfather. He too had largely forgotten about his and Ryane's rescue the night of their Leaving Cert results two years ago and so it came as a big surprise to him too to hear he was to receive an award. He was delighted and the awards ceremony at Farmleigh was "a great day" he said. Since then Cillian has completed FAS courses in IT support and Microsoft Administration and is currently job hunting.

The awards presented to Cillian and Ryane were among 21 presented by Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett TD. Another young Cork man, John O'Flynn, received a bronze medal and Certificate of Bravery for his part in a river rescue in February 2011 when he entered the river Lee at Lavitt's Quay and swam to reach a man in the water. He managed to get him back to the water's edge where he held onto him until the fire brigade arrived.

The ceremony was attended by the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, the Lord Mayors of Dublin and Cork, the Garda Commissioner, the President of the Association of City and County Councils and the Chairman of the Irish Red Cross.

Congratulating all concerned, Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett said they were there to celebrate, recognise and give thanks "to members of our communities who, through their selfless acts of courage, have helped other people. In going to the aid of others at great risk to their own safety, our award winners have brought great pride to themselves and their families and great happiness to the people and the families of those they have helped. One cannot fail to be impressed by the strength of spirit shown by the recipients of these awards."

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