A Donegal paramedic has won the inaugural Dara Fitzpatrick Award.
Frances Griffin was one of the first responders at the scene of the Creeslough tragedy in which ten people lost their lives.
The award was launched by the Irish Paramedicine Education and Research Network (IPERN) at the University of Limerick on International Women’s Day to honour the memory of one of Ireland’s first female search and rescue pilots who lost her life in 2017 while on a rescue mission.
The Donegal woman said it was an “honour” to accept the award as she also paid tribute to her colleagues and management in the National Ambulance Service.
“Captain Fitzpatrick was an inspirational female leader in her role with the Irish Coast Guard — she left behind a powerful legacy which has inspired me and my female colleagues in pre-hospital care,” she said before thanking her colleagues and management in the National Ambulance Service.
IPERN chairwoman Niamh Cummins said that Ms Griffin’s nomination was “particularly powerful” out of the “five amazing finalists”.
“She’s just been fabulous across her career, she’s done so much work in the community and supporting her colleagues and particularly Creeslough,” Dr Cummins said.
Ms Griffin was among the first on the scene of the explosion in October which claimed 10 lives.
Commending the paramedic’s strength and bravery, Dr Cummins said: “She knew it was likely that someone she knew would be involved and was completely focused and professional. She was involved in removing the most seriously injured patient from the rubble,” she said.
Ms Griffin also treated and stabilised another seriously injured patient at the scene.
“Both of those patients survived and she did actually personally know everyone involved,” Dr Cummins said, adding that, following the explosion, Ms Griffin had reached out to and supported colleagues.
A paramedic with the National Ambulance Service since 2002, Ms Griffin was nominated for the award by her work partner, Roddy Smith.
The Dara Fitzpatrick Award which aims to pay tribute to Ms Fitzpatrick’s legacy will be presented annually on International Women’s Day to an inspirational woman within Ireland’s pre-hospital care community.
Captain Dara Fitzpatrick flew over 800 missions with the Irish Coast Guard before her death in March 2017.