Coast Guard and families of missing Rescue 116 crew hold vigil

Coast Guard, Gardaí and members of the local community have held a candle-lit vigil for the crew of Rescue 116 at the Sundial in Blackrock, Co Louth, this evening.

Coast Guard, Gardai and members of the community gathered at the Sundial in Blackrock, Co Louth for a candle lit vigil for the crew of Rescue 116. Pic: Ciara Wilkinson

The wife and children of Coast Guard Rescue 116 helicopter crew member Mark Duffy also made a brief appearance at the vigil tonight.

Eight-year-old James, Jesssica (aged 9) and Faith Scanlon (aged 6) at the candle-lit vigil which was held tonight in Blackrock, Co Louth, for the crew of Rescue 116. Pic: Ciara Wilkinson

The families of the three missing Rescue 116 crew remain at Blacksod bay in County Mayo tonight while Captain Dara Fitzpatrick's funeral will take place tomorrow.

Gardaí are advising motorists that traffic restrictions will be in place from 10am to 1pm tomorrow in the Glencullen area.

They have said that through traffic from Johnny Fox’s pub to the Enniskerry Road at Kilternan will be diverted at Fox’s.

Traffic will be prevented from travelling from Fox’s to the Enniskerry Road.

Access will be maintained in the opposite direction and local access will also be maintained.

The everyday heroism displayed by the tragic crew of Coast Guard Rescue 116 was remembered today by the Bishop of Limerick at a St Patrick's Day mass for past and present members of the Defence Forces.

It comes as rescue crews searching for the Coast Guard helicopter missing off the Mayo Coast say they have spotted a weather window on Sunday in which they may be able to dive at the suspected crash site.

Air and shoreline searches are continuing today, while the specialist ship - The Granuaile - is being stocked with extra equipment at Galway before heading to Blacksod Bay for Sunday's search.

The funeral of Irish Coast Guard Captain, Dara Fitzpatrick, will take place this weekend.

Dara is currently reposing at the family home until 10pm tonight.

Requiem mass is at St Patrick's Church, Glencullen, at 11am tomorrow, followed by cremation at Mount Jerome, Harolds Cross, in Dublin 6.

The family has requested no flowers, but donations, if desired, can be made to the R.N.L.I., Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue and The Donkey Sanctuary.

Searching continues on the beaches of Belmullet, Co. Mayo, for the missing Coast Guard Helicopter crew. Pic: Keith Heneghan

The crew's "strong sense of giving" was recalled by Bishop Brendan Leahy in his homily at Sarsfield’s Barracks, Limerick.

The sense of heroism and mission displayed by St Patrick is still very much evident in the acts of Irish Coast Guard pilot Dara Fitzpatrick and many others who sacrifice much, Bishop Leahy stated.

In the now traditional St Patrick’s Day Mass for members past and present of the Defence Forces and their families in the city, Bishop Leahy said we cannot but think today of someone like Dara Fitzpatrick who dedicated her life to others so fearlessly.

Linking the selfless kindness of St Patrick to that of Ms Fitzpatrick, her colleagues, the defence forces and many others, Bishop Leahy said that the heroic pilot was an inspiring example for all of us.

“I was struck by her comments in the Rescue 117 documentary she featured in, which was played back on Wednesday’s news on RTE. She said ‘there’s no way in the world we would do anything else in life’."

"Dara had a strong sense of ‘giving’ to others. A pilgrim on life’s journey, like all of us, she seemed to be a person who got up each day thinking of helping others."

Captain Dara Fitzpatrick

“I even noted over recent days a video on the online Catholic channel iCatholic about the importance of finding the balance with alcohol. She participated in that video to promote responsible use of alcohol," Bishop Leahy said.

"She spoke of how she had far too great a responsibility to her job to ever allow a drink on any night get in the way of work the following day."

"Saving lives was her priority and she lived that out to the end. Certainly, an inspiring example for us all on this St. Patrick’s Day.”

Bishop Leahy said that on the national feast day, it was important to be grateful for the reminder of the Christian story at the heart of our culture: “Let’s be grateful for all those, like Dara, whose generous spirit reminds us of the measure of love: to love without measure."

“Let’s acknowledge the sacrificial love witnessed also in the Defence Forces who, at times, spend a long time away from their loved ones, often in war zones in the Middle East and Africa."

Commenting on the humanitarian aid the soldiers provided to people during recent flooding, he added: "Here in Limerick you have been deployed to help with flood relief in the past. You share in that sense of giving and the rest of us are truly grateful."

Searching continues on the beaches of Belmullet, Co. Mayo, for the missing Coast Guard Helicopter crew. Pic: Keith Heneghan

"Perhaps you don’t always explicitly think of it but there is always a risk involved in your mission, and that risk has a name. It’s called being ready to lay down our lives. There’s a heroism in that."

“Surely, St. Patrick would recognise in you and in people like Dara Fitzpatrick the measureless measure of love being lived out so quietly but effectively day by day across this island."

He added: "Yes, it’s good to celebrate St Patrick’s Day together here this morning. Remembering the great foundation story of St Patrick and the great continuing stories of modern day heroes brings so much inspiration to us all.”

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