RNLI pays tribute to North Dublin volunteers at annual awards ceremony in Trinity College


The RNLI Annual Presentation of Awards took place last weekend in the Great Hall at Trinity College in Dublin.   During the ceremony RNLI volunteers and supporters from around Ireland were recognised for their role in raising funds and awareness for the life-saving charity and for supporting the volunteer lifeboat crews in their work.  Guest of honour was the outgoing Chairman of the RNLI, Admiral the Lord Boyce, who handed out awards to fifty-one volunteers.   


Awardees were present from all over Ireland representing lifeboat stations and branches in Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Wexford, Galway, Wicklow, Louth, Donegal, Meath, Kildare, Monaghan, Limerick, Sligo, Waterford and Clare. Director of the Irish Coast Guard Chris Reynolds and his wife Geraldine along with Irish Water Safety CEO John Leech were also in attendance. The ceremony was presided over by the Chairman of the RNLI Council of Ireland, Mr John Coyle.


Awards presented on the day included two Gold Badges, four Silver Badges, nineteen Statuettes, seventeen Bronze Badges, one pair of RNLI binoculars and eight Supporter Awards. 


RNLI Chairman Lord Boyce, who gave out the awards, spoke of his time as Chairman of the charity and of the pride he felt in representing it and in recognising the volunteers present for their commitment. “Pride is something that links all of us; pride in the role we all have in saving lives at sea and proud to be part of a cause that prevents tragedies because we all know of what the sea is capable of doing.  We can only give our lifesavers everything they need and deserve because people like you lend your time, talents and support.”


Seven North Dublin RNLI volunteers and one club were honoured at the ceremony.


Bud Bryce from the Howth branch of the RNLI received a Bronze Badge.  Bud has been a strong supporter of Howth Lifeboat for many years.  In 2001 he took on the position of box secretary covering the Howth, Sutton and Baldoyle area.  He also helps out at flag days and the with the recent Mayday collections.


Malahide Yacht Club received the award of a Record of Thanks. The RNLI St. Patricks Day “Hot Paddy and Irish” coffee morning has been hosted in Malahide Yacht Club since 1983 and has raised over €50,000 for the charity; it celebrated its thirtieth anniversary this year.Andrew Deegan, Honorary Treasurer of Malahide Yacht Club collected the award.


Skerries RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Niall McGrotty was awarded the RNLI Binoculars.  This is an operations award and was given to Niall for his work with the north Dublin station.  Niall served on the B class lifeboat at Skerries from 1981 until his retirement from the crew in 2000, when he became a Deputy Launching Authority before becoming Lifeboat Operations Manager in 2002. His experience both as a lifeboatman and a dinghy sailor have served him well and the award is recognition of 30 years of lifeboat service.


Gerry Benson from Skerries RNLI received an RNLI Statuette.  Gerry joined the sea safety team from day one and has given 13 years valuable service since then.  Gerry’s wealth of knowledge of small boats has enabled him to develop a relationship with local divers and anglers in particular. 


Thomas Hoey from Skerries RNLI was awarded a Statuette in absentia.  Thomas became involved in the sea through his diving experience and has been instrumental in delivering the sea safety message extensively to the diving community.  Thomas has built up good relationships over the years with the sea angling community in the North Dublin area, and has arranged many SEA Check days for club’s and individual boats.


Liam McMahon from Skerries RNLI received a Statuette. Liam has held the post of Lifeboat Training Co-ordinator since the instruction of competency based training in 2001.  Encouraging and always available, Liam has ensured the steady progress and development of the crew in Skerries.  He is also overseeing the stations transition to their new class of lifeboat. 


John McKenna from Howth RNLI received a Statuette.  John was the first Sea Safety Advisor taken on in Ireland.  His professional background as a master mariner gave him an inroad into all sectors of the leisure boating community and brought with an immense wealth of knowledge and experience.  He has trained as a lifejacket assessor and has delivered many presentations and clinics throughout Ireland.    He has become known as the “angling expert” throughout the angling community through his presence at the Ireland angling show every February representing the RNLI.


John O’Reilly from Howth RNLI received a Statuette.  John joined the sea safety team in the early days.  He has continued to deliver the sea safety message through SEA Checks, Advice Onboard, and countless conversations and lifejacket clinics.  He is a valuable member of the sea safety team out in Howth.


Rose Michael from Malahide received her RNLI Gold Badge at a ceremony in London last month.