A doctor and former lifeguard who rescued two people who got into difficulty in the sea off Tramore has said he was "just glad he was able to help", ahead of receiving an award for his bravery.

Dr Matthew Sills is one of a number of rescuers being recognised at Water Safety Ireland's National Awards ceremony in UCD.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Dr Sills said the "wrong conditions and a little bit of inexperience" were the reasons why an adult brother and sister could not escape a rip current on 5 August.

He said he was out and about in Tramore when he noticed a large group of people looking panicked on the prom as they watched the pair trying in vain to escape a rip current. 

Dr Sills had rescue equipment in his car and ran for a rescue tube, a flotation device designed for use by lifeguards.

He ran into the water fully clothed and made his way to the two swimmers.

Dr Sills placed the rescue tube around the woman and offered practical advice to the man, and steered the pair ashore against strong a swell and current.

He said the incident lasted only four to five minutes.

Once the pair were back on dry land they were both okay and did not require medical attention, Dr Sills said.

He added that the pair had swam in the area before but were caught out by the conditions on the day.

The man has since contacted Dr Sills via email to thank him, and said he and his sister plan on getting swimming lessons to make sure that they can be safer in the water.

Dr Sills also said that while he was able to rely on his lifeguard training to help them, he would not advocate people who are not trained in life-saving to go into the water in such circumstances.

On average, 124 people drown every year in Ireland.

However, Water Safety Ireland said the numbers are falling year-on-year. 

In 2017, there were 109 drownings. That number fell to 103 last year, and the figure is currently fewer than 100 deaths so far this year. 

Volunteers are also among those being honoured at the awards. 

Sixty-one people with more than 1,200 years of personal service in teaching swimming, water rescue and survival skills around the country are to receive the "Long-Service Volunteer" awards.