Bailieborough Post Woman Catherine Farrell with her An Post Heroic Citizen Award for saving a pensioner who was being attacked by a vicious dog while out on her postal route.

Post woman receives bravery award

hero Rescued pensioner being mauled by dog

“It’s all in a day’s work” is how Catherine Farrell downplays her role in saving a pensioner from a savage dog attack, some three years ago in the Tunnyduff area of east Cavan.

The fact that her employers An Post were eager to present an award in recognition of Catherine’s bravery, is much more telling of the mother of two’s heroics that day. The pandemic put pay to An Post’s original plans for the awards ceremony. Instead, at Catherine’s request, a low-key presentation was made, in a quiet corner of the Kells An Post office, by her manager, Martin County.

A beautifully hand turned yew bowl and a medal tastefully honour her achievement.

Catherine recalls the “horrific attack” at the Celt’s request, and it’s clear she went above and beyond the call of duty. In the course of her rounds on June 11, 2019, Catherine came across the gruesome scene of then 85-year-old Jimmy Thompson being mauled by a vicious dog at Seefin Hill.

Farmhand Sean Clarke was already at the scene attempting to beat the dog with a stick. Using a tray, which ordinarily holds mail in her van, as a shield, Sean and Catherine worked together to parry the dog’s attacks and raise the alarm for help.

“I knew time wasn’t on Jimmy’s side because he had severed his artery and the way the blood was gushing...”

The bleeding was brought under control by the quick thinking of Gda Trevor Owens who used his belt to tie around Jimmy’s arm. Emergency services raced Jimmy to Lavey GAA pitch where an air ambulance took him to receive specialist care in Dublin. His arm sustained significant injuries.

“I never classed myself as a hero, I always classed Jimmy as the hero,” says Catherine.

“I see Jimmy most days and to see him and the recovery he’s made is testament to how strong he is. He thanks me all the time - and his family as well are very appreciative,” she says of Jimmy Thompson, who she meets frequently on her rounds. Asked if it’s emotional when they recall those events, she explains: “It’s emotional because he’s still here. When he was going off in the ambulance, I didn’t ever think he’d come home. It does my heart good when I see him on the lane walking up and down.”

Catherine sometimes gets flashbacks: “Especially when I’m driving up that road, I still see the blood in my mind, vividly to the right hand side of the road. And if I think about the dog, I still see the blood dripping from his mouth.”

A community minded person, Catherine is eager to keep an eye out for people.

“I check in on people, make sure everyone’s alright, everyone’s safe, if anybody needs anything,” she says. “I probably spend more time looking around me than I do on what I’m supposed to be doing,” she jokes.

Catherine was “very honoured and humbled” to receive the awards. “It was lovely. I’m with the company 18 years,” she says.

However, it seems that continuing the work is reward enough for Catherine.

“I’m extremely lucky to be out there doing something that I love with the people that love me just as much as I love them.”