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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Above and Beyond: Meet the lifesaving Luas driver who went back on duty after a dramatic rescue

Philip Redmond is one of 37 people from around the country receiving a Seiko ‘Just in Time’ award for rescuing people in near-drowning situations.

Image: TheJournal.ie

“I DIDN’T HAVE to think about it, the training just came back”

34-year-old Luas driver Philip Redmond took a number of lifesaving courses as a teenager, and even taught classes for a while.

Until this summer, however, the Clondalkin man had never had to call on those skills in a real-world situation.

Everything he’d learned “came back instantly”, however, when he was called upon to rescue a distressed woman from the Grand Canal during the summer.

Philip was just about to drive off from the stop at Goldenbridge, beside the canal bank in Drimnagh, when a woman ran up to his cab window and shouted through the hatch.

“She said there was a woman on the edge of the canal who was going to jump, and was serious about it,” he told TheJournal.ie.

Philip got out of the tram to find out what was happening, but as he approached, saw the woman enter the water.

image

Goldenbridge Luas Stop [Google Streetview]

“I ran back and grabbed a five foot points-bar that we use for changing over the tracks,” Philip said.

He rushed down to the sloped embankment close to where she was, but the woman didn’t want to grab the pole.

“She wouldn’t take it. We were all calling for her to take it.

A crowd gathered, and a group of men came down to help Philip as he reached for the flailing woman.

“They held my arm and we made a chain up the bank because there was nowhere to grab onto.

“I was able to reach out further and there was a huge crowd of people shouting at her to take it.

After “about five minutes,” she did.

“We took her up the embankment to where it was easier to get out. The guards and fire brigade were just arriving at the time.

‘Shaking’

The woman was taken to hospital, and Philip says he was told later that she had been checked out and was ‘physically fine’.

“Another lad had been stripped off and ready to jump in the water, but I was worried he could have been dragged down”.

Philip changed trams with a driver heading the opposite direction and then ended his shift early once he got back to base.

“I was fine afterwards. It was only later I noticed that my hands were shaking. It didn’t catch up with me till later on”

Awards

Philip says he was thrilled to discover this week that he would be one of the 37 people from around the country to receive a Seiko ’Just in Time’ lifesaving award from Irish Water Safety.

He’ll be in good company at next Tuesday’s Dublin Castle awards ceremony; the Luas driver’s fellow recipients include a Donegal surf instructor who saved a woman and her two sons, and a Kerry fisherman who rescued four children from a sandbank amid rapidly rising waters.

“I’d gotten an award already from the Lord Mayor but I thought  maybe I didn’t really deserve it enough. I’ve actually done water safety though so this is different.

Philip said he’d seen an ad for lifesaving classes recently as he was passing Clondalkin Sports and Leisure Centre and thought “I’ll have to sign my kids up once they’re old enough”.

“You’ll have to wait a while for that though?” TheJournal.ie suggests.

“Yeah probably”.

Philip’s daughter Georgia is eleven months old. His wife, Deborah, is expecting their second in March.

Related: “The water rushes in awful fast — the kids wouldn’t have been able to stand”

Also: Warm summer saw RNLI lifeboats launched 571 times

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