Irish Coast Guard to be honoured at People of the Year Awards

The award will pay tribute to those involved in Rescue 116

Irish Coast Guard to be honoured at People of the Year Awards

Image: Supplied

It has been revealed that the Irish Coast Guard will be honoured at the 2018 Rehab People of the Year Awards on Sunday.

The event was due to be held on March 3rd, but was postponed due to heavy snowfall.

The 43rd People of the Year Awards will see the Irish Coast Guard honoured in recognition of the bravery of the men and women who carry out their duties despite considerable risk to their lives.

The award recognises the crew of Rescue 116, who tragically lost their lives off the Mayo coast last March, and volunteer member Caitríona Lucas, who died during an earlier operation.

The community of Erris will also be recognised for their outstanding contribution to the search for the missing Rescue 116 crew and the record search conducted.

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was the first confirmed casualty of the crash of helicopter Rescue 116 off the Mayo coast | Image: Irish Coast Guard/
Captain Mark Duffy was member of the crash of helicopter Rescue 116 | Image: Irish Coast Guard/
Paul Ormsby | Image: Irish Coast Guard/
Ciaran Smith | Image: Irish Coast Guard/

On March 14th, 2017, Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 disappeared off the north coast of Mayo.

The aircraft had been providing communications support for an offshore medical assistance operation.

On board were Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, Captain Mark Duffy and winch team Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.

Hundreds of volunteers, fishermen, and colleagues supported the emergency services in combing the area for the missing crew.

The bodies of Dara Fitzpatrick and Mark Duffy were recovered in the subsequent searches.

However despite intensive efforts, the bodies of Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby have not yet been recovered.

Just six months previously, the Irish Coast Guard community suffered another loss with the passing of volunteer member Caitríona Lucas, who had been participating in a search operation off the coast of Kilkee, Co Clare.

Caitriona Lucas | Image: Facebook

Irish Coast Guard Search and Rescue operations manager, Gerard O'Flynn, said: "The selfless actions of those who put their lives on the line, for the safety of others, means Caitríona, Dara, Ciáran, Mark and Paul will remain an inspiration to us all.

"Going above and beyond is the norm for members of the Coast Guard service.

"The fact that these men and women often put their own lives in danger to carry out their duties makes the search and rescue crews such a remarkable group of people.

"Our colleagues will always be sadly missed and we remain deeply saddened by the depth of this tragedy."

Among the hundreds of people to have been honoured in the past have been Panti Bliss, Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, Robbie Keane, Maurice McCabe and John Wilson, Christy Moore, Paul O’Connell and Katie Taylor.