Adi Roche pictured on stage with Grainne Seoige as she presented Able Comm Op Shauna Fero, Lt Elaine Maloney, Chief ERA Rory De Barra and Cpl. Conor Kilbride, members of Oglaigh Na hEireann with their winning People of the Year Award for the work of the Irish Naval Service at this year’s People of the Year Awards organised by Rehab. Pic. Robbie Reynolds

The Defence Forces were recognised with a People of the Year Award for the work of the Irish Naval Service, having displayed immense courage and resilience in saving thousands of lives in their humanitarian mission in the Mediterranean.

In the Mediterranean, thousands of people attempt to make the crossing every day to a new life, driven by the turmoil of their home places, unfortunately, not everyone makes it.

Naval crews on board the LÉ Eithne, LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett have shone a light of inspiration during the ongoing tragedy. In May, the LÉ Eithne and her 69 crew set off on an eight-week voyage in the Mediterranean where almost every day there were reports of scores of refugees who lost their lives. On this voyage alone they saved 3,376 migrants.

The LÉ Niamh undertook a three-month mission in July, based off the coast of North Africa, rescuing more than 4,100 people. Then in October the LÉ Samuel Beckett went to sea in an operation that will last until early December.