Tributes have poured in following the tragic death of James “Jimmy” Nicholl, a former soldier who died while trying to save the life of another man in the River Liffey on Saturday, 8th April.
Mr Nicholl was described as a “hero” by A Lending Hand, a homeless charity whose volunteers feed people in need on the streets of Dublin. Those in the organisation who knew him personally remembered James as someone who “always looked out for others” who were homeless in the capital – despite not having much himself.
It is understood that Mr Nicholl and another man both drowned in the early hours of Saturday, 8th April. Reports state that a man in his 20s got into difficulty near Grattan Bridge at approximately 1.30am, and Mr Nicholl dived into the water to save him.
Sadly, their bodies were found a short time later. It is understood that Gardaí have not named the other victim.
In a statement shared to social media, A Lending Hand said everyone had been left devastated by his loss, and “devastated” by the lack of media coverage surrounding the death of Mr Nicholls, who was believed to be homeless at the time of his death. Mr Nicholls, who was aged in his forties, spent two years as a soldier between 2000 and 2002.
“James deserves to be hailed a Hero for diving into the freezing cold river to save a random man’s life that was drowning last Friday night in the Liffey in Dublin,” the charity said.
The charity said that James “didn’t hesitate” to try and help the other man struggling in the water, who sadly also died.
“He didn’t hesitate to dive in and try [to] help the poor soul in the water , he jumped straight in and in doing so he lost his life trying to save another human’s life,” they said.
“He’s a hero in our eyes and deserves to be recognised as one , we hope your in heaven with your baby and shining down on everyone,” they added.
The charity said that the way Mr Nicholls died was “a testament to who Jimmy was as a person” and that when “he saw someone in trouble, [he] didn’t think twice about saving them”.
The charity sent their condolences to James’s sister Deborah, his partner Donna, and his entire family circle, as well as the family and friends of the other deceased man, signing off the post by writing:
“We will all miss you around Dublin James”.
Mr Nicholl’s Funeral Mass was celebrated on Monday morning at St. Brigid’s Church in the Curragh Camp. His death notice read that he would be sadly missed by his loving family; his parents Noreen and Jimmy, sisters and brother Carol, Deborah, Darren and Margaret, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law, his partner Donna, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, extended family, relatives and friends.
Meanwhile, a poignant memorial has been set up at Grattan Bridge in Dublin – which spans the River Liffey. Images of the moving memorial have been shared on social media, showing the bridge adorned with balloons, photographs, flowers and prayers, with many paying their respects to the tragic men online.
Gardaí have said that enquiries are ongoing regarding the incident and that files are being prepared for the coroner.