Man who rescued baby from the Buncrana pier tragedy honoured at People of the Year Awards

Davitt Walsh was about to leave the beach area when he noticed a car sinking in the water

Davitt Walsh, Buncrana, Donegal, rescued, baby, family, Presidential Award, online campaign

Davitt Walsh interviewed on Good Morning Britain | Image: ITV

Davitt Walsh received a People of the Year Award for the bravery he showed rescuing a young baby from the Buncrana pier tragedy in March.

Davitt was about to leave the beach area when he noticed a car sinking in the water. He immediately jumped into the water and swam out to the car which had drifted nearly 30 metres away.

When Davitt reached the car Sean McGrotty (49) told him to “save the baby”, Rioghnach-Ann McGrotty. Within seconds the car was submerged. LRioghnach lost her father Sean, her brothers Mark (12) and Evan (8), her grandmother Ruth Daniels (57), and her aunt Jodie-Lee (14).

The family was enjoying a Sunday evening when the car skidded on green algae on the pier ramp and drifted into the sea. 

“The only time I feared for my safety was on my way back from the car because I thought I wasn’t going to make it back to shore", Davitt said. "I was physically exhausted, I was struggling and I actually feared for the baby’s life more than my own. I really wanted to get her back to shore."

Others honoured at the event at Citywest Hotel included footballer Robbie Keane and joint winners Olympians Paul and Gary O’Donovan, and Annalise Murphy.

Mr Keane said on his award: “I have spoken this year of how it has been an honour to represent my country for so long. I have always worn the green jersey with pride and I will always be grateful for the opportunities to play for and captain the International Team. It has been the highlight of my career.

"It is a privilege for me and my family to receive this award.”

Milo McCarthy (11) received a Young Person of the Year Award after he raised nearly €18,000 for Syrian refugees by busking on the streets of Cork City. Alan Herdman (24) was another recipient of a Young Person of the Year Award for saving the lives of eight young children who nearly drowned in Rusheen Bay, Co Galway, in July.