Clare Person of the Year award for Caitríona Lucas

Clare Person of the Year award for Caitríona Lucas

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Emma Lucas, Bernard Lucas, Gerry O’Reilly, Back – Ben Lucas, Pat O’Donnell – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Irish Coast Guard volunteer Caitríona Lucas, who died in the line of duty last September, has been posthumously awarded the Clare Person of the Year Award at a special event in Ennistymon.

Mother-of-two Caitríona (41) died on September 12th 2016 during the search for a missing man in Kilkee. There were three volunteers on board the Kilkee Coast Guard search and rescue boat when it capsized.

The Clare Association Dublin held its annual dinner dance and award presentation in Ennistymon last night, only the second time the association has hosted the event outside of Dublin since being established in the late 30’s.

Among the over 300 guests at the event were family, friends and colleagues of the late Coast Guard volunteer and librarian.

Caitríona Lucas during a rescue operation at Rehy West in 2012 – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2012

Addressing the event, Clare Association (Dublin) chairman Gerry O’Reilly said: “The Clare Association is honoured to recognise the contribution that Caitríona has made to Co. Clare during her life. The is the first posthumous award in the history of association.”

“Caitríona’s untimely death has left a huge loss in the community, for work colleagues, fellow volunteers, and of course her family and her friends. Caitríona made enormous contributions to the community. She was an immense volunteer, who found and created many opportunities that enriched the community,’ Mr O’Reilly told guests.

“In her extraordinary selflessness as a Coast Guard volunteer, Caitríona helped many families in their greatest hour of need,” he added.

Accepting the award along with son Ben and daughter Emma, Caitríona’s husband Bernard Lucas said: “We are very honoured and very proud to accept this award on behalf of Caitríona. It means a lot to receive this award and that so many people turned up here tonight.”

“We are very privileged to have had Caitríona in our lives and without the support of family and friends we couldn’t have survived the last five and half months,” Bernard added.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Speaking of Caitríona, Bernard said: “She never let any obstacle prevent her from doing anything she wanted to achieve. When she set her mind to anything she went out and did it.”

Following last September’s tragedy, books of condolence were opened by the Clare Library Services and other groups. Thousands of people from Co Clare and around the country signed and left messages of sympathy in memory of Caitríona.

Tim Murphy of Clare Library Services presented a ’sample token’ of the many books of condolence to the Lucas family.

 

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick.

Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station’s flagship current affairs programme.

He was also the station’s News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day.

As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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