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Family of Patricia so proud of their LÉ Samuel Beckett hero

December 20th, 2016 10:10 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Donal and Patricia O'Sullivan with President Higgins and his wife Sabina at a reception earlier this year.

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THE sister of Patricia O’Sullivan from Coosane, Ballydehob, who featured in last week’s RTÉ documentary The Crossing said she and her family are immensely proud of their sister.

Patricia is carrying out humanitarian work in the Mediterranean as a Petty Officer in the Irish Navy.

Barbara Green said the family was also overwhelmed by all the kind comments and good wishes from people, following the airing of the programme on Monday night. 

The documentary was filmed last September on location in the Mediterranean Sea, chronicling the work of the Irish Navy on board the LÉ Samuel Beckett and made for harrowing viewing.

‘We had been told that Patricia had done an interview for the documentary, but we didn’t realise how much she would be featured in it,’ Barbara told The Southern Star.

‘This was her second time on a humanitarian mission to the Mediterranean and she is actually due home on Friday morning, so there will probably be huge crowds in Haulbowline when the LÉ Samuel Beckett returns.’

Patricia – who is the head electrician on board the LÉ Samuel Beckett – and her brother Donal both joined the Irish Navy at just 17 years of age, and have excelled in their careers ever since.

In the documentary, Patricia, daughter of Joe and Siobhán O’Sullivan, and who is set to get married next year to her fiancée Elaine, gave a harrowing account of what the refugees had to ensure as they tried to make the unsafe journeys across the Mediterranean sea.

‘You just hear them blowing their whistles and roaring for help and you’re just standing there feeling helpless and praying that the boys are going to get them in time,’ said Patricia.

‘The screams are one thing I won’t forget in a hurry, and it will haunt me for a long time,’ she added.

With unprecedented access, The Crossing told the story of one month in the LÉ Samuel Beckett’s life in the southern Mediterranean, and is still available to view on the RTÉ Player.

In excess of 15,000 migrants have been saved by the intervention of the Irish Naval Service since the operations began, but the numbers dying trying to cross the Mediterranean have reached almost 4,000 this year.

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