Ireland's Office of Public Works (OPW) honoured two of its guide staff at a special ceremony at Farmleigh House in Dublin's Phoenix Park today, October 4.
The staff, Anthony Ryan and Aidan Doyle, were on duty at the Clonmacnoise heritage site in Co Offaly in September of last year when a German tourist collapsed and was discovered unresponsive.
Michael Schaper, 72, and his wife Heinke were on a driving holiday around Ireland in 2022, when they visited Clonmacnoise on September 16.
During their stop at Clonmacnoise, Schaper collapsed. Ryan and Doyle sprung to action, administering medical care and seeing that the tourist was quickly transported to a hospital for surgery. Thankfully, he made a full recovery.
Schaper and his wife Heinke returned to the Clonmacnoise site this summer and were delighted to meet the heroic staff whose speedy response and actions saved his life.
The OPW today honoured two of its guide staff at a special ceremony @farmleighOPW in the @phoenixparkOPW. Anthony Ryan and Aidan Doyle were on duty at the Clonmacnoise heritage site in September of last year when a German tourist collapsed https://t.co/djjIQN2hzQ pic.twitter.com/4alDQgERVm— Office of Public Works (@opwireland) October 4, 2023
Speaking at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., congratulated Ryan and Doyle on their composure in dealing with the situation.
“We are very proud in the OPW of how Anthony and Aidan responded in what was literally a life-or-death situation for Mr. Schaper.
"It highlights once more how fortunate we are in the organisation to have staff of such high calibre and experience with the ability to go above and beyond the call of duty when circumstances require it.”
This morning at the #OPW Employee Awards we were delighted to honour Aidan Doyle and Anthony Ryan who work at Clonmacnoise. Through their swift action a German tourist who had collapsed and was unresponsive survived. Real example of heroism from our ranks. pic.twitter.com/pd3b3oDdpn— Patrick O'Donovan (@podonovan) October 4, 2023
Deputy Head of Germany’s Mission in Ireland, Christian Resch, presented Ryan and Doyle with their awards at the event in Farmleigh on Wednesday.
“We are so grateful to both Aidan and Anthony for their swift intervention in this serious situation," Resch said.
"That day, they were the guardian angels of a German citizen, leaping into action and preserving the life of Mr. Schaper.
"On behalf of the German embassy, we would like to thank the Office of Public Works staff for their assistance and efficient management of the incident.”
The awards formed part of a ceremony that recognizes the long service of OPW staff across the organization. The ceremony was established to ensure that staff with long years of service are recognised and in a small way rewarded for their dedication and commitment to serving the state.
Maurice Buckley, Chairman of the Office of Public Works said: “We are so proud of our staff for their rapid response to this critical situation. They managed to remove Mr Schaper from a tight spot, administer CPR, and deploy the on-site defibrillator, ultimately saving his life.
"Mr Schaper was airlifted to hospital from the site and, following surgery, I am pleased to say he has made a full recovery.”
Minister O’Donovan added: “With over 2000 staff in a wide range of activities in different parts of the country, the OPW undertakes work that impacts positively on large portions of the population and that endures for future generations.
"I want to acknowledge first-hand the calibre and expertise of the staff here today.
"The very act of all gathering together to recognise your years of service is as important for the organisation and management as it is for the individual recipient.
"The OPW truly is a critical provider of essential services for Government and the taxpayer and is valued as such.”