Rescue on the Liffey

On Wednesday night, while returning home from a concert in the 3Arena, St John EMT volunteer Paul was alerted to an incident in the water by his wife.

A man was apparently in difficulty in the river Liffey. Attempts to rescue him using a life buoy had failed.

On reaching the waters edge, Paul realised that the casualty was slipping under the water and was in need of immediate rescue. The casualty was approximately 5 metres from the jetty; beyond reach.

The river Liffey, near where the incident occurred

Paul – a trained lifesaver and strong swimmer – quickly stripped down and entered the water (still rather cold at this time of year). He swam out to the casualty and brought him back to the jetty.

Enlisting the help of bystanders, Paul organised the retrieval of the casualty from the water onto the jetty. A nurse who was also on scene helped ensured the casualty’s safety until the Dublin Fire Brigade rescue boat arrived, along with a fire appliance and an ambulance.

Commissioner of St John Ambulance Ireland, John Hughes, commended the quick & careful actions of his colleague.

Mr Hughes further commented: “It is of vital importance to always contact the emergency services immediately in such circumstances, and only attempt a rescue if appropriately trained to do so. Of course, we should all consider undertaking such training – you never know when your intervention in an emergency situation could make all the difference.”

The RNLI quote a statistic that 50% of people who end up in difficulty in water never intended to be in water in the first place. They have launched a #respectthewater campaign, which St John Ambulance fully supports. Former St John cadet Colm Plunkett, who was swept into the sea on Dursey Sound last summer, has created this video to alert members of the public to the dangers of our coastlines.

For more information on water safety, check out #respectthewater,, and


We are happy to report that the casualty is recovering from his ordeal in hospital. The responding crews and the Gardaí thanked Paul for his swift action.


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