Galway RNLI lifeboat volunteer selected as finalist for Capt Dara Fitzpatrick Award

Galway Daily news Galway RNLI lifeboat volunteer selected as finalist for Capt Dara Fitzpatrick Award

Galway RNLI lifeboat volunteer Olivia Byrne was chosen as a finalist for the Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Award, which recognises the vital work of first responders and the important role that women play in the emergency services.

Olivia was one of a group of five women, who were chosen as finalists from a large number of entrants from across Ireland.

The ceremony was hosted by the Irish Paramedicine Education and Research Network and the Fitzpatrick family and took place in the University of Limerick.

The award pays tribute to Dara’s powerful legacy as an Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue pilot by celebrating inspirational women who work in the Irish pre-hospital community and emergency services.

Dara’s values of compassion and kindness, strength and bravery, leadership and teamwork, and professionalism were key to the selection process.

Olivia Byrne is a nurse, midwife and public health nurse, while also volunteering with the Galway Lifeboat crew. She was nominated for the award by the station’s Lifeboat Operations Manager Mike Swan.

“Olivia has been a volunteer lifeboat crew member with Galway RNLI for more than twenty years,” Mike said of her work.

“Over that time she has been on 132 callouts and has been involved in many rescues including passengers on cruise ships, and has dealt with injuries from fractured hips to cardiac arrests, while also dealing with people who have lost their life through drowning.”

“Olivia’s nursing background has seen her bring nursing skills to a search and rescue role for the benefit of all the crew at the Galway Lifeboat Station and ultimately, those who we rescue.”

Volunteer lifeboat crews all take first aid training to be allowed to participate in operation callouts. Olivia helps with this training by organising casualty care exercises at the lifeboat station.

She also, “Ensures that new crew coming into the search and rescue field are supported in this training and feel comfortable and confident in carrying out these lifesaving tasks.”

On receiving her finalist award, Olivia commented, “It is a great privilege for me to be included in this group of highly trained women. The ceremony was very emotional for all present and it helps to keep the memory of Dara alive.”

“Dara was an exceptional pilot who had immense courage but also had the human touch. This was evident in the speeches on the day and from meeting her family and colleagues who worked alongside her.”

She added that the the other finalists were all “outstanding leaders” in their own fields. The winner of the 2024 Dara Fitzpatrick Award 2024 was Pte Nicole Carroll, a Defence Forces Combat Medical Technician.

“I was delighted to be a finalist and to share the experience of the award ceremony with an incredible group of women.’