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'A fitting tribute': Coastguards called to rescue operation at ceremony to remember people lost at sea

Caitríona Lucas, the Coast Guard volunteer who died in September, is among those being remembered.

Image: Dun Laoghaire RNLI via Twitter

Updated 4:10pm

A CEREMONY HELD this morning by the Dun Laoghaire RNLI to remember lives lost at sea, including the Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas, was briefly stopped after some members went to assist in finding a dog that had been reported missing.

According to the Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard’s Facebook page, concern was raised for two children searching the Merrion Strand for their lost red setter dog.

The Coast Guard said: “Two members left just before the ceremony and proceeded to Merrion Strand and found a family desperately searching for Sally, the family red setter.

“The patrol spoke with the family and searched north and south of the location. About 15 minutes later, about a mile north, Sally was found by our search team and reunited with the family.”

Dun Laoghaire coast guard Source: Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard via Facebook

They added that, since Caitríona Lucas had a love for animals, she would not have wanted them to remain at the ceremony and would have rathered they spent their time finding the dog instead.

Ceremony

The annual commemoration by the charity is held on  Christmas Eve each year to mark the anniversary of the 15 volunteer lifeboat crew members from Dun Laoghaire RNLI who died during a rescue on this day in 1895.

The lifeboat operations manager at Dun Laoghaire said that this was an “an especially poignant time of year” and that 2016 would be remembered “by all of us involved in rescue services around Ireland”.

In previous years, two wreaths have been laid at sea but this year an extra wreath will be added in memory of Caitríona Lucas of the Irish Coast Guard in Doolin.

The mother-of-two, who had volunteered for years with the Coast Guard alongside her husband, Bernard, tragically died when the boat she was travelling in capsized near Kilkee in September.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke a few weeks after Caitríona’s death, Bernard paid tribute to his wife, saying that her memory helped sustain him.

15/9/2016 Caitriona Lucas Funeral Scenes The coffin of Caitríona Lucas being carried to the graveyard after her funeral mass in September Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Speaking about today’s ceremony, lifeboat operations manager at Dun Laoghaire RNLI, Stephen Wynne, said:

Caitríona symbolises the commitment we all share for helping others in need; she will not be forgotten.

The service at the lighthouse at the end of the East Pier this lunchtime includes music, an ecumenical blessing, a reading of a newspaper account printed at the time of the 1895 tragedy and concludes with a guard of honour for the wreath-bearers as they proceed to sea on the lifeboats to lay tributes.

The guard of honour will be provided by the Dun Laoghaire Coast Guard Unit and Civil Defence volunteers while Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboats will carry the wreaths to sea.

A piper from Dublin Fire Brigade will play a lament at the East Pier saluting station at the close of the ceremony.

Read: Caitríona Lucas, tragically killed in coast guard rescue, remembered as an exceptional person

Read: ‘She was more than my wife, she was my best friend’: Husband pays tribute to volunteer wife

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