Security men praised for saving brave Karlee

By Mary Dennehy

THE life-saving actions of two security men who performed CPR on a seven-year-old girl after she suffered a cardiac arrest in a local shopping centre were this week celebrated.

In December 2019, little Karlee O’Brien Doonan collapsed in Clondalkin’s Mill Shopping Centre six days before Christmas, with her recovery being credited to the life-saving actions of security man Danny O’Brien from Tallaght and his co-worker, Danny O’Leary.

The Mill Karlee Presentation 08 1

Gerry Mulcahy (Centre Manager), Michael Hall (Manguard), Dan O’Brien, Karlee, Linda, Abigail, Danny O’Leary and Jonathan Pim (Manguard Plus)

Up until she suffered a cardiac arrest on December 19 of last year, Karlee, who has been described by family as a ‘walking miracle’, was not showing any signs of an underlying condition or illness.

Living in Woodford in Clondalkin, Karlee’s dad spoke with The Echo earlier this year when his daughter visited Tallaght Fire Station in her Communion dress to thank the A Watch unit who responded to the 999 call on the day she collapsed.

Speaking with The Echo at the time, dad Steve and Tallaght firefighter Keith Mason hailed the efforts of the centre’s security staff. 

Firefighter Keith Mason said: “We responded at around 4.30pm [on December 19] and when we arrived security had initiated CPR, and that bystander CPR is surely what saved Karlee’s life.” 

This week, nearly a year since Karlee suffered a cardiac arrest, a tribute was staged in The Mill to honour the two Dannys, who have given Karlee and her family the greatest gift.

The Mill Karlee Presentation 07 1

Danny O’Leary, who living in Jobstown, is a match day event controller with Shamrock Rovers, told The Echo: “I remember being on duty with Danny O’Leary and we got a call to say that a person is on the ground in the shopping centre.

“We didn’t realise until we got across that it was a little girl.

“We checked her and realised she wasn’t breathing and started CPR straight away.

“I have done occupational first aid and defib courses, but this was the first time I had to do it.

“It was the first time in my life I had to give someone CPR.”

Danny, who works for Manguard Plus security, added: “I was doing the compression and my co-worker Danny [O’Leary] was administering breaths, we did it together.

“We administered CPR on Karlee for around 11 minutes.

“In training you’re told basically not to stop, do not give up on the compression until someone else comes and pushes you out of the way.

“That’s what happened that day, when the paramedics arrived, we kept going until they had their equipment ready and then they took over – there was no lapse.”

On Monday, a special event was held in the Mill Shopping Centre to recognise the ‘extraordinary efforts’ of Danny O’Brien and Danny O’Leary.

Organised by the centre’s management team, the event saw Karlee, who is eight now, and her family participate in the presentation of Letters of Commendation – Life Saving Awards to both security men.

Karlee and her family are regular shoppers in The Mill, with the young girl always dropping by to say ‘hi’ to both security men when they’re working.

When asked how he felt during the presentation on Monday, an overwhelmed Danny, who is a proud grandfather to five grandchildren, said: “I’m speechless, I don’t really know what to say.

“I don’t feel like I’m anything special, myself and Danny are just glad we could help.

“Happy we could help.

“The training was everything and I’d implore everybody to get training.

“CPR is a life skill and I think it should be thought in schools.

“Out of all of the training I’ve done over the years, [CPR] is literally the most valuable, and it’s proven itself now.”

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