A proposal to construct a memorial in honour of the late Caitriona Lucas at Kilkee will be considered by Clare County Council.
Speaking at the January meeting of the West Clare Municipal District, Independent councillor Ian Lynch put forward a motion asking the local authority to put in place “a fitting memorial in Kilkee in memory of the late Caitriona Lucas and to mark the heroic efforts made by all on that tragic day in September”.
Ms Lucas who was a member of the staff with the Council having worked as a librarian in Ennistymon, died in September while volunteering on a rescue mission for the Irish Coast Guard. Her death was the first time a member of the Coast Guard died whilst on a rescue mission.
In response, Meetings Administrator of the WCMD, John Corry suggested that Lynch pass the idea on to the memorial committee.
“Consideration can be given to the provision of such a memorial in accordance with Clare County Council’s Memorial Policy, which was adopted at the January meeting of Clare County Council. In accordance with this policy all requests or proposals for memorials should be submitted to Clare County Council’s Memorial Committee. The role of this committee will be to consider all requests or proposals for memorials and to make a recommendation to the Full Council of Clare County Council”.
Speaking to The Clare Herald, Cllr Ian Lynch outlined his reasons for putting forward the proposal four months after Caitríona’s death. “It’s a bit sensitive, it’s very soon after to put a motion on this forward but I wanted to do it, Kilkee got money in the urban renewal scheme and one of the proposed projects is on the roundabout on the Carrigaholt road to put some street art in on that and while we were doing that I said wouldn’t it be lovely to do something to mark Caitríona’s life”.
He stressed that he wants the memorial to honour her life and not her passing. “I don’t want it to be something that marks the passing of Caitríona because that’s quite sensitive and difficult for the family to deal with. What I’m afraid of is as the time goes on the story of the person Caitríona was before this, because everyone knows the unfortunate accident that she’s become a national hero and the way she was in the community was phenomenal, I want to remember the person that she was and how good she was in the community not alone the library service and what she did up in Doolin for the Coast Guard training the rescue dogs”.
A father to two daughters, Ian wants Caitríona’s life story to serve as inspiration for Clare women in the present and the future. “She was a role model, I wanted that memory of her as a role model to live on. I’ve got two young daughters, one of them is only coming up on two and a half and in five years time I was worried that the story of Caitríona would be forgotten and I wanted my kids to grow up and when they go to Kilkee in the summer to say ‘what is that’ and I’d say ‘that’s of a great woman, Caitríona Lucas a role model’ and I want them to know that story and realise anyone can be that role model in the community and that’s what she was striving for”.
Cllr Lynch maintained that if the project goes ahead it must be fitting to the woman it is honouring. “If it’s a matter of holding off and getting x few pound to try get this right that really reflects the person that she was”.
“Caitríona is someone we all should be very proud of not just within the council but within the local community and county, now nationally she’s become a real figure for people, it’s even more fitting that she was a staff member of the council”, the Kilrush councillor added.
All elected members of the West Clare Municipal District supported the motion and it now goes forward to the local authority’s memorial committee who will approve or reject it.