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.
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.
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.