’I love you to the moon and back:’ Mark Duffy’s wife in moving tribute at funeral

Latest: "I love you to the moon and back," these were the words of Captain Mark Duffy’s wife Hermione at his funeral this morning.

In a two-hour long funeral, which was attended by President Michael D Higgins, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, her words were read out by Declan Whelan, a friend of Mark’s.

She described her husband as a "daddy hero," who loved the sea, his home by the sea and how he had instilled his own can-do attitude in their children.

The funeral mass was celebrated by Mark’s uncle Fr Stephen Duffy, who described his nephew as "peace-loving" and "pure of heart."

"I am quite certain that Mark at this very moment is as usual not thinking of himself but only for his children Esmé and Fionn and his grieving wife, Hermione, and without a shadow of a doubt Mark is telling Jesus how He must look after his children and his wife from now on," Fr Duffy said.

"Mark was one of God’s finest creatures, my best friend, he was the personification of everything Our Lord spoke about in the Beatitudes; kindly, humble in spirit, pure of heart, peace - loving, good-natured, loving and lovable.

"Indeed he had other attributes which singled him out - a vivacity, a tremendous sense of fun, a desire in all things to help and be of service," he added.

A guard of honour was formed by members of the various emergency services such as the Irish Coast Guard, Dublin Fire Brigade and Mountain Rescue.

Earlier: Coast Guard captain Mark Duffy has been laid to rest in Co. Louth.

His funeral took place at Blackrock Church in Dundalk this morning a fortnight after he died in a fatal helicopter crash.

Mark was one of four crew members who lost their lives when Rescue 116 went down off the coast of Mayo.

The coffin of Captain Mark Duffy is carried into St Oliver Plunkett Church in Blackrock, after he died when the Irish Coast Guard helicopter crashed off the coast of Co Mayo.

At the mass Father Pádraig Keenan said: "In the early hours of Tuesday 14 March, a dark cloud descended over the island of Ireland following the tragic accident of R116.

“None more so was that darkness felt than within the families and communities of the four crew members.”

The coffin of Captain Mark Duffy is carried from St Oliver Plunkett Church in Blackrock, after he died when the Irish Coast Guard helicopter he was in crashed off the coast of Co Mayo.

In his homily, Rev Stephen Duffy said: “We are here this morning in sorrow to pray for someone special. Mark was special because he was a father and like all good fathers his first thoughts were always for his children.

“I am quite certain that Mark at this very moment is as usual not thinking of himself but only for his children Esmé and Fionn and his grieving wife, Hermione.”

The mass will be followed by cremation in Dardistown Crematorium at 2pm.


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